Objective: To systematically review the effects of omega-3 poly unsaturated fatty acids (FA) enriched nutrition support on the mortality of critically illness patients. Methods: Databases of Medline, ISI, Cochrane Library, and Chinese Biomedicine Database were searched and randomized controlled trials (RCTs) were identified. We enrolled RCTs that compared fish oil enriched nutrition support and standard nutrition support. Major outcome is mortality. Methodological quality assessment was conducted based on Modified Jadad’s score scale. For control heterogeneity, we developed a method that integrated I2
test, nutritional support route subgroup analysis and clinical condition of severity. RevMan 5.0 software (The Nordic Cochrane Centre, Copenhagen, Denmark) was used for meta-analysis. Results: Twelve trials involving 1208 patients that met all the inclusion criteria. Heterogeneity existed between the trials. A random model was used, there was no significant effect on mortality RR, 0.82, 95% confidence interval (CI) (0.62, 1.09), p =
0.18. Knowing that the route of fish oil administration may affect heterogeneity, we categorized the trials into two sub-groups: parenteral administration (PN) of omega-3 and enteral administration (EN) of omega-3. Six trials administered omega-3 FA through PN. Pooled results indicated that omega-3 FA had no significant effect on mortality, RR 0.76, 95% CI (0.52, 1.10), p =
0.15. Six trials used omega-3 fatty acids enriched EN. After excluded one trial that was identified as source of heterogeneity, pooled data indicated omega-3 FA enriched EN significant reduce mortality, RR=0.69, 95% CI [0.53, 0.91] (p =
0.007). Conclusion: Omega-3 FA enriched nutrition support is safe. Due to the limited sample size of the included trials, further large-scale RCTs are needed.