Chelation Therapy is Still at the Back of the Bus

by Bob Dozor, MD

“Effect of Disodium EDTA Chelation Regimen on Cardiovascular Events in Patients with Previous Myocardial Infarction” was published in the March 27, 2013 issue of Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA).  It demonstrated that “among stable patients with a history of MI (heart attack), use of intravenous chelation regimen with disodium EDTA, compared with placebo modestly reduced the risk of adverse cardiovascular outcomes.”  It showed an 18% overall reduction in cardiovascular effects; specifically 23% reduction of MI, 23% reduction of stoke, 19% reduction of coronary revascularization procedures, 28% reduction of hospitalization for angina. It also showed a 7% reduction of death, but this last finding was not statistically significant (because there were not enough patients in the study to firmly make this conclusion. It should be noted that both study and placebo patients were getting all the other appropriate usual therapy for cardiovascular disease. So the study seems to be saying that EDTA chelation adds a moderate value to other therapies.

The authors of this study concluded: “These results provide evidence to guide further research but are not sufficient to support the routine use of chelation therapy for treatment of patients who have had an MI.

Why such a meek conclusion?  Reducing cardiovascular endpoints by 20% is not chopped liver!  EDTA chelation has been used as treatment for cardiovascular disease since the 1950’s!  It is biologically credible.  Competing editorials in the same issue of JAMA shed some light on this.  The Editor in Chief and the Executive Editor are very defensive about the fact that this article was even published in JAMA.  Obviously, they have received a great deal of push back about it!  The other editorial is full of condescension because many of the sites where this study was performed were “Complementary and alternative medicine sites” and therefore suspect per se.  CAM remains at the back of the bus, and even a study like this backed as methodologically sound by the head editors at one of the most prestigious medical journals, gets attacked by main-stream cardiologists. This is ultimately more of an ideological and sociological phenomenon than a scientific one. For now CAM research and methods still ride at the back of the bus!

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