Monday, December 21, 2009

Does Chelation Therapy Cause Heart Injuries?

Chelation therapy is a recognized treatment for heavy metal (such as lead) poisoning. EDTA (Ethylenediamine tetraacetic acid) is injected into the blood and binds the metals, allowing them to be removed from the body in the urine.A potent chelator of cations, especially calcium, it is FDA-approved only for rapid, emergency treatments of hypercalcemia or digitalis toxicity,and for those indications it has long been obsolete. Source.

Na2EDTA is specifically contraindicated for “generalized arteriosclerosis.” Its labeling includes a “black box” warning: “The use of this drug in any particular patient is recommended only when the severity of the clinical condition justifies the aggressive measures associated with this type of therapy." You can find the warning here:

Chelation therapy is not approved by the FDA to treat coronary artery disease, but some physicians and alternative medicine practitioners use it for this purpose.

In August 2002, the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine (NCCAM) and the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI), which are both components of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), announced the launch of the Trial to Assess Chelation Therapy (TACT). This placebo-controlled, double-blind study involves participants age 50 years and older who’ve had a heart attack, and is expected to reach a total enrollment of 1,950. Participants are representative of the U.S. population.

Last August, the federal Office of Human Research Protections began a probe into whether the people in the study were being fully informed of risks and adequately protected. Researchers then suspended enrollment.

The most common immediate side effects of oral chelation therapy include: skin rashes, redness and swelling, headaches, diarrhea, nausea, fainting, fatigue, joint pain, body aches, cramps and convulsions.

Kidney damage from chelation therapy has resulted in permanent damage requiring ongoing dialysis. Deaths have also occurred during chelation therapy from kidney failure and cardiac arrhythmia.

Death and permanent injury have resulted from chelation therapy, even in doctor-supervised clinical trials. The American Heart Association warns of severe and life-threatening side effects and does not endorse chelation as a treatment for heart disease.

Other observers have reported cases of hypocalcemia leading to cardiac arrhythmias and tetany; kidney damage; decreased blood clotting ability with abnormal bleeding; thrombophlebitis and embolism; hypoglycemia and insulin shock; severe vasculitis and autoimmune related hemolytic anemia, dermatitis with pruritus and generalized eczema; and extensive clumping of platelets in the blood of some patients with atherosclerosis and other chronic diseases.

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