Not only did taking the oil make them less prone to physical problems with the dialysis point of entry but they also had lower blood pressure and fewer heart attacks.
A team from the London based Lawson Health Research Institute looked at patients who took daily doses of four fish oil capsules compared to those who took placebo capsules.
Patients taking the oil were less prone to congestion and clotting at the site where the dialysis was delivered.
The dialysis is done through a graft which joins an artery to a vein and the grafts are prone to congestion and clotting which may need surgical correction.
The fish oil patients had a lower rate of graft failure and lost half as many grafts to clotting.
They needed fewer surgical corrections but were also found to have lower blood pressure, lower rates of heart attack, heart failure and other cardiac related events.
“This study provides very exciting results,” said Dr Louise Moist says of the Institute.
“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.
“It is not often we have such encouraging results that benefit patients’ quality of life and reduce health care costs. ”
Dr Moist and her colleagues are planning a second study focusing more intensely on blood pressure and cardiovascular events as related to fish oil.
They are hoping these results could provide a safer way to avoid cardiovascular complications and extend the patency of the graft during haemodialysis.
The study is published in the Journal of the American Medical Association.