Hello doctor. I'm a long-term cardiac patient who has been invited (by my cardiologist)to participate in clinical study of "chelation therapy". Would you please give me an overview of this therapy? Specifically, what is it, what science is it based upon, and how effective does it appear to be in treating coronary artery disease? Thank you very much!
There is no good evidence that chelation therapy is of any use for treating coronary artery disease, though I have had patients who have paid a lot of money for this unproven treatment. I am not aware of any approved clinical study that is examining this issue in patients with coronary artery disease. If it is part of a clinical trial (of which I am skeptical) then the service should be provided to you for free. If you are supposed to pay money for this chelation therapy trial, it is most likely a scam and you should find another cardiologist.
Everything I have heard and read as a layman is that chelation is a total scam. All it ever does is to lighten the pocketbook of the patient. Personally if I had this problem, I would seriously consider the diet of Dr. Dean Ornish. There is evidently some evidence this diet might reverse the affects of artery clogging but chelation is is worthless as a therapy.
My own Mother underwent chelation therapy back in the 70's. She must have been in her 60's then. She claimed it made her feel more energetic and healthier. Indeed, she played tennis several times a week into her 70's. You would have had a hard time convincing her it was a scam.
I know several people over on Senior Net who have had chelation therapy and swear by it. At least two of them were experiencing severe angina and now are back jogging, etc. with no pain. The wife of one them took the treatment preventively after seeing what it did for her husband. Another gentleman, in his 80's, has glowing tales to tell of his chelation experience.
I have a friend in town whose family is prone to early heart disease. Two of her siblings had unsuccessful angioplasties and/or bypasses. One was scheduled for another but declined and had chelation instead. The other sibling also had chelation after disappoinng results with conventional treatment. The results were wonderful. Now the younger sister (my friend) is also having chelation done preventively.
If my husband had not been so put off by chelation by his doctors, who basically said what the doctor posted above, I would love for him to have chelation. He has had several angiograms, one angioplasty, and a stent installed. None resolved his chest pains. I have begged his internists and his cardiologists to guide him and encourage him in nutritional choices but not a one seems able or willing.
When I phoned our local American Heart Association for data on chelaton therapy, they sent a brochure which states in part that chelation patients may feel better because "chelation therapists usually require their patients to make changes in their lifestyles". As if those nasty old chelation therapists were somehow CHEATING by insisting on healthy lifestyle changes among their patients.
A final point - chelation therapy is far less expensive than angioplasty, stent insertion, or bypass - plus it treats ALL the arteries, not just the select few that have become noticeably blocked. Trouble is, most insurances and Medicare do not cover it so it is indeed more expensive to the patient who must cover it himself. I don't know anyone who had it who felt it was a waste of money - although several would have loved for their insurances to have covered it.
It is very confusing for patients (or potential patients) who are looking for unbiased information and look to their doctors for guidance and instead receive only enthusiastic negatives but then find a few who have experienced chelation and get only enthusiastic positives. We deserve better.
WillB1, if you're still there and interested in talking with someone who has undergone chelation, please email to me at
I am that 82 year old man that Diane referred to. For your own information, please go to: http://www.chelation.com
Really, the ONLY people who think Chelation Therapy (CT) is of any benefit are those who have had failed by-pass, maybe a 2nd and have been told to get their affairs in order - a death notice. Some one, like me, may have posted a place to find out about CT, checked it out and after a series of non-invasive infusions, are once again enjoying a quality of life they thought was never to be. I have talked with some of these people and there are tens of thousands of people who have regained a desired quality of life. Traditional medical practioners know nothing of this therapy so they say it is of no benefit. The Doctors who are members of the American College for Advancement in Medicine are ALL M.Ds. or D.Os. and have embrassed Alternative/Integrated/Complementary Medicine (or whatever you want to call it.) Their Site is
http://www.acam.org They know CT has helped their patients.
I have no interest in any way other than to let people know how to find out for yourself about Chelation Therapy. These two Sites will do just that. If you wish, you may e-mail me direct.
I omitted my e-mail: ***@**** And, yes, I did benefit from a series of infusions and now have only maintainance every 4 to 6 months and only then if my blood study shows a need. Yes, I do other things to try to keep healthy like exercise, golf, try to do a fair job of diet but I like good food and am about 20 lbs. over. I'm not going to live forever but I am surely enjoying a fine quality of life. Chelation Therapy has helped immensly.
Thanks for your islands of positive response in that ocean of negativity! The chelation study I referred to would not be an expense to me, and might be of value. At this point,I think almost anything is worth trying. I've read some legitimate medical commentary that suggests this approach IS of value, despite what much of the mainstream seems to think.
I've had two triple-CABG surgeries and my recent grafts are still patent, but have had my right coronary artery occlude totally since then, and a recent cath shows a lot of damage to my other native arteries. I'm on a dual-therapy lipids protocol that has produced an excellent lipids profile. I walk briskly for at least an hour per day, and am a twelve-year member of a phase three rehab class. I meditate, I watch my diet, I'm at my ideal weight, don't smoke, drink a single glass of red wine each day, am married happily, etc. etc. I also take aspirin, vitamins e, c, and multi, plus Norvasc, Toprol XL and Altace, as preventative agents.
My doctors are excellent, and respectful of my desire to deal aggressively with my disease. They are highly regarded senior cardiologists in our community and nationally. It was one of them who suggested I participate in the chelation study. At this point, it doesn't seem like I've got much to lose. I'm not the type who'll sit passively and wait until my heart stops.
I'd love to hear more about the details, pros and cons of this treatment modality. Please - from those who've got some first hand experience, rather than simply having read about it.
WillB1: I congratulate you for your willingness to be open minded about what you are going to decide is best for you. I totally support the traditional medical practitioners who, after my preventive medicine M.D. identified a possible problem, removed a cancerous prostate (still totally contained in the gland), a year and a half later (again identified by a preventive colonoscopy) a cancerous tumor in the colon where the roots were only 1/2 way thru the colon wall. After these escapes from potentially fatal cancers due to early detection, I experienced some elevated blood pressure readings and edema in the ankles and feet. A series of only 15 chelation infusions, properly administered by an ACAM approved M.D. reduced my 150 to 160 over 85 to 90+ BP to under 140 and later under 130 over low to mid 70s. Now, this is not something I have read, it happened to me. While receiving the infusions, I talked with people, several of them, who had received one, two or even three by-pass surgeries and a few of them had been told, "we can do no more for you. Get your affairs in order." Because CT goes throughout the circulatory system, to every capillary in the body, these people who had been given a "death notice" were once again enjoying a quality of life they did not think possible. These are not "blind cinical studies" referred to by the AMA, etc. these are actual experiences of living & breathing human beings with whom I have talked. Yes, I paid for these reatments at $100 per treatment and it was the best $1,500 I have spent. Too bad Medicare does not pay for CT at $1,500 or 2 or $3,000 instead of $150,000 to $250,000 for surgery and hospitalization for by-pass surgery. My e-mail is: ***@**** I am posting this only FYI. I have no interest other than to let people know - you do have an alternative to life-threatening surgery. At age 82, I am living proof.
Dear Earl:Regarding your posts, there is a possible treatment option for people like yourself who have had one or more bypasses and/or angioplasties and still get chest pain. Enhanced external counterpulsation (EECP) is an FDA cleared treatment for chronic stable angina. It is performed on an outpatient basis usually in a cardiology office or hospital outpatient area. It consists of 35 hours of therapy, but is painless and totally non-invasive. It may increase and improve the heart's own ciculation and has helped many people over the past five years in the US. It is paid for by Medicare and many other insurances as well. And unlike chelation, there has been ample scientific studies demonstrating its benefit. Look it up at www.eecp.com or www.naturalbypass.com. The Cleveland Clinic is correct in saying that there is no good scientific evidence that chelation works. There are a multitude of personal stories about its benefits though. When you seek proper medical care, the physician considers treatments that are proven to work, otherwise he may be wasting your time and his. Most of the studies on chelation have been conducted by ACAM. These studies are scientifically biased because there is either no control groups in the studies or the doctors and patients are not blinded during the studies.Furthermore, multi-center studies are needed to ensure that study results are consistent between different places. Based on the lackings of chelation studies, most cardiologists will not recommend such therapy. I believe I heard that the National Institutues of Health were going to properly investigate chelation. In any event, chelation could possibly aid circulation if indeed it does reduce calcium deposits in arteries, and this itself is a controversial point. Chelation therapy often involves taking large amounts of high dose vitamins as well, which besides being expensive, can possibly be the reason some people feel better. Just be cautious regarding chelation because there are many claims by doctors and businesses selling chelation about the incredible or miraculous results there patients have received. If this were true, it would be very easy then to demonstrate these improvements in proper controlled blinded studies that are currently lacking from chelation scientific literature. Sincererly, Tom
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