At the American Heart Association (AHA) 2012 Scientific Sessions held earlier this month, the results of a randomized clinical trial—The Trial to Assess Chelation Therapy (TACT)—were unveiled showing that chelation therapy had benefits for heart disease patients.
- Patients with prior heart attacks enrolled in a clinical trial of a weekly chelation infusion regiment that included disodium EDTA and vitamin C had fewer cardiovascular disease complications than those who received placebo infusions.
- Chelation therapy removes heavy metals like lead and iron from the body. Disodium EDTA, the agent used in the study, does not have an FDA indication.
- Investigators caution that the results need to be reproduced and understood before consideration of clinical application.
Chelation therapy is used to remove metals from the bloodstream. The more common calcium EDTA is approved to treat lead poisoning and other chelation drugs are used to manage iron overload following repeated blood transfusions. There has been decades-long debate about whether chelation therapy could be effective as a treatment for patients with atherosclerosis, or fatty deposits in arteries that can cause heart attacks. Until now, there have been no large, long-term clinical trials to determine if these intravenous infusions might work for patients with coronary artery disease.
“This study is shaking up thinking,” Dr. George Wyse of the Libin Cardiovascular Institute of Alberta tells CTVNews. He was part of a Canadian study of chelation presented in 2001 that suggested the therapy didn’t help patients.
“I think we were all surprised,” he added. “It was like opening a door and throwing a hand grenade in and closing the door. Now we have to explain why the results are the way (they) are and I think it will lead to more research.”