Dr. Louise Moist, a scientist at Lawson Health Research Institute, said hemodialysis can be delivered through arteriovenous grafts -- artificial vessels created to join an artery to a vein. However, these grafts are prone to congestion and clotting, causing disruptions to treatment and a need for surgical treatment.
Moist and colleagues followed patients undergoing hemodialysis using new arteriovenous grafts for 12 months after creation. Patients were assigned to daily doses of either four fish oil capsules, or four placebo capsules.
The study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association found patients, who took fish oil experienced a lower rate of graft failure, with half as many grafts lost to clotting.
In addition, the amount of time until clotting occurred increased and fewer corrective interventions were required, the study said.
Those taking fish oil also had lower blood pressure, lower rates of heart attacks, heart failure and other cardiac-related events, Moist added.
"This study provides very exciting results," Moist said in a statement. "Fish oil did not fix all the problems with grafts but it reduced the number of costly, time consuming procedures for patients already receiving a very burdensome treatment with dialysis."