This meta-analysis of clinical trials compares an inflammation-modulating diet enriched with eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA), gamma-linolenic acid (GLA), and elevated antioxidants (EPA + GLA) vs a control diet to determine the effectiveness of this specialized diet on oxygenation and clinical outcomes in mechanically ventilated patients with acute lung injury (ALI)/acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS).

MEDLINE, EMBASE, Cochrane Clinical Trials Register, and the U.S. National Institute of Health Clinical Trials databases were searched. The outcome measures assessed were 28-day in-hospital mortality, 28-day ventilator-free and intensive care unit (ICU)-free days, and the development of new organ failures. An evaluation of oxygenation and ventilatory variables was also performed. Outcomes were analyzed using both fixed-effects and random-effects models.

Three randomized controlled studies (n = 411 patients) were included in this meta-analysis. Among the most important findings of this evaluation is a significant reduction in the risk of mortality (odds ratio [OR] = 0.40; 95% confidence interval [CI] = 0.24-0.68; P = .001), with significant reductions in the risk of developing new organ failures (OR = 0.17; 95% CI = 0.08-0.34; P < .0001), time on mechanical ventilation (standardized mean difference [SMD] = 0.56; 95% CI = 0.32-0.79; P < .0001), and ICU stay (SMD = 0.51; 95% CI = 0.27-0.74; P < .0001) in patients who received EPA + GLA.

The meta-analysis showed a significant reduction in the risk of mortality as well as relevant improvements in oxygenation and clinical outcomes of ventilated patients with ALI/ARDS given EPA + GLA.