Dr Angier’s Personal Heart Journey
I first heard of chelation therapy 20 years ago while practicing in a rural area of southwest Virginia. Several of my patients had gone to a place called the Mount Rogers Clinic to receive EDTA chelation for heart conditions and circulatory problems. I was aware that EDTA was used to treat lead poisoning, but was a bit skeptical about using it to treat heart disease. However, the patients receiving chelation did seem to be getting better.
Over the years I continued to hear of the success of the treatment and read a book titled Bypassing Bypass Surgery by Dr. Elmer Cranton, MD, the founder of the Mt. Rogers Clinic.
In his book, Dr. Cranton made a compelling case for the use of EDTA. He referenced several good studies and shared a number of his patients’ stories to show the treatment’s effectiveness. I found the book interesting, but it became important when I became a heart patient myself!
I was only forty-four years old when I started having left-sided chest pain that came on with exercise and went away with rest. I saw a cardiologist who had me do an exercise stress test that showed a potentially serious problem. However, I went on to have a heart catheterization which appeared to be normal.
So how could this be? First off, these are two very different tests. The stress test is a physiological test. It shows what your heart does when you are exercising. The heart cath is an anatomical test—it shows if you have a large artery that is blocked. However, it doesn’t show the smaller arteries (called arterioles) very well, and it’s the arterioles that actually deliver the blood to the heart muscle.
In my case, I was extremely confident in the physician doing my cath. I had known him 30 years and knew he was a straight shooter. He said there was little risk of me having a heart attack. Unfortunately, he couldn’t do much for my chest pain, which was thought to be from small vessel disease (blockage of the arterioles) or vasospasm (constriction of the smooth muscle of the arteries that limits blood flow).
After trying several medications that either made me sick or didn’t help, I decided to look at EDTA chelation again. I became convinced that it was safe and felt it was worth the investment (it’s not covered by insurance). I was also encouraged by the fact that my father (then a very healthy 83 year old) had gone through a course of chelation therapy in Florida a few years earlier and felt it to be beneficial. So I packed my bags and headed to Virginia to receive treatment at the Mt. Rogers clinic.
In the first week I noticed a big improvement in how I felt, and within a couple weeks I could take a brisk walk without angina. Since my initial course of 25 treatments I’ve had only a couple of episodes of chest pain (associated with emotional distress, not exercise). Also, like everyone else I’ve talked to who has received chelation, I had virtually no side effects from the treatment.
How EDTA chelation works is still somewhat of a mystery. It may be that it removes calcium found in the fatty plaques in blocked arteries. However, some think it’s because EDTA removes toxic heavy metals from the body. Dr Cranton believes that that it works as a powerful anti-oxidant. None of these theories have been well-tested, but there is a major study taking place called TACT (the Trial to Assess Chelation Therapy) which is funded by the NIH. Results won’t be available until 2012, but the fact that they’ve let it continue for several years is a good sign (if the treatment was harmful the safety review board would have stopped the study to protect the patients). This is a very well-designed study and my guess is that it will show significant benefit to heart patients.
In the meantime, EDTA chelation therapy remains a safe, legal option for patients interested in improving their heart health or as an adjunct to traditional care. For more information I recommend you read Dr. Cranton’s book or make an appointment to discuss your treatment options at a reputable facility. Make sure that the treating physician is well trained (preferably certified in chelation therapy) and offering the longer three hour infusion as recommended by the experts in the field.
Pierre Angier, D.O. is the medical director of GET WELL in St. Augustine, Florida. He is board-certified in Family Practice and is also certified in chelation therapy through the American Academy for the Advancement of Medicine. For more information visit WWW.GETWELLFL.COM or call 904-217-7030.