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What is Chelation and Whether it is a Proven Treatment ?

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  • Chelation is a treatment approved for heavy metal toxicity and not yet approved for patient with Coronary Artery Disease.
  • The claim chelation can remove blocks from Coronary Artery has no evidence.
  • Randomized trial failed to show desired clinical benefits.

Chelation is the treatment which is approved for heavy metal toxicity and lead toxicity and it is not yet approved for patients with coronary artery disease. But in sometimes it been inadvertently used in the patients with coronary artery disease and it is shown no benefits to these patients (who have coronary artery diseases).

What is chelation?

Chelation is an injection of (EDTA) which is disodium ethylene diamyltetricacid. It is a compound which is injected into your body along with some vitamins. It is usually done along in IV injection and carried out for around 30-40 days and they claim that this could be able to remove the blocks since it has a calcium affinity. Now the question is whether chelation can able to remove the block in patients with coronary artery disease? It is absolutely a scandalous claim that chelation can actually remove the block in the coronary artery. Until today there is no coronary angiogram or CT-angiogram done pre and post chelation therapy to show that chelation can actually remove the blocks.

This claim was done in the earlier ’70s and ’80s. But now we know exactly, that removing the block cannot be an option because the calcium deposit in the blocks is very less and chelation may not able to reach the calcium. Even if it removes the calcium the plaque becomes unstable. It may cause a heart attack rather than relieving anginal pain. So it is very dangerous to remove the blocks. Now, what is the scientific evidence to show that chelation helps in patients with cardiac disease? There is two trial done in (1994 and 2002). These are all the randomized control trial and recently another trail called TACT is done. These are done in patients with ischemia also they have analyzed the effect in the placebo group.

So basically they took two groups of patient one they have undergone active chelation treatment other just took vitamins we call it as placebo. It has not shown any significant improvement with chelation when compared to the placebo group. So chelation is not approved treatment for heart disease but in peripheral vascular diseases, chelation improves the peripheral circulation and patient with blockages in leg arteries can able to improve the walking distance. When they repeat the trial in a randomized and scientific fraction, there also it fails to show any improvement. So patient who been administered chelation therapy for 40 days did not show improvement in the quality of life also not shown improvement in walking distance in a treadmill or not shown improvement in regular walking distance also.

So recently there is only one trial which is published in America in 2007, called as TACT trial. Even in that trial, it showed a marginal effect of chelation in mortality but it did not show any difference in heart attack or stroke or non-fatal MI. So I would like to suggest the recommendation committee that chelation is not at treatment for patients with coronary artery disease, it needs further trials to support its claim. Until today there is no mechanism of action has been proposed in chelation to know how it works. So chelation is an unapproved treatment and it should not be given to patients with coronary artery disease.