Cardiac arrhythmias can be triggered from ischaemic cardiac muscle due to the damage inflicted on individual myocytes. During an ischaemic episode free fatty acids accumulate in the ischaemic tissue. The importance of these fatty acids lies in the apparent ability of some classes of fatty acid to protect against cardiac arrhythmias. As cardiac sudden death is a likely cause of death in patients who have suffered an initial ischaemic insult, protection against such arrhythmias may be of crucial importance. The following review discusses how this protection may be produced, dealing specifically with changes in electrophysiological properties of cells and intracellular calcium regulation.

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