Here are the answers to some of the most frequently asked questions about chelation therapy, arteriosclerosis, angioplasty (stents) and bypass surgery.
Who should receive EDTA chelation?
Any adult interested in better cardiovascular health is a candidate for chelation, but most patients seeking treatment have known heart disease or circulatory problems.
What if I already have had stents or bypass surgery?
Many patients have chelation therapy to keep their stents or bypass grafts open and to avoid further complications from atherosclerosis.
How does chelation therapy work?
EDTA is an amino acid that binds with heavy metals and some minerals so they can be excreted from the body. It is not clear how this helps with cardiovascular disease, but it appears to remove calcium from the fatty plaques in the coronary arteries. This has been documented with CT scans done before and after treatment. It is also possible that EDTA works because it is a powerful anti-oxidant.
Is there proof that EDTA chelation is effective?
There have been many small studies that indicate chelation therapy is effective for a variety of conditions. A meta-analysis of nineteen studies showed an effectiveness rate of 88%. The results of the TACT trial—a large scale, double-blind, placebo-controlled study conducted by the NIH—will be released in 2012.
How is chelation therapy administered?
Oral forms of EDTA are not well absorbed, so it is administered with an IV infusion. This is done in our office and takes approximately 3 hours.
How many treatments are needed?
We recommend a minimum of 10 treatments, but patients with known heart disease should have 25 treatments, followed by a monthly maintenance dose.
Is it FDA approved?
EDTA is approved for heavy metal toxicity only. Treating heart disease with EDTA chelation therapy is legal, but it is considered an “off-label” use of the drug.
Is it safe?
Serious side-effects are rare, especially when the treatment is performed by providers that are properly trained. As with any IV administration, it is possible to have discomfort at the injection site or to develop an infection. Also, any drug can cause an allergic reaction, but this is rare and we are prepared to deal with these emergencies. You cannot have chelation therapy if you have had tuberculosis. Also, tell your doctor if you have any kidney disease.
Is chelation therapy covered by insurance?
Because it is considered an alternative treatment, chelation therapy is not covered by insurance except with some cases of heavy metal poisoning.
How much does chelation cost?
Our rates are very reasonable. Many offices charge $150 per treatment, but presently we charge only $117. Plus, we have packages available that make it even more affordable.