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Should you consider chelation therapy for heart disease?

Wondering if chelation therapy for heart blockage is a good idea? Read this to clear your doubts!

Written by Bhavyajyoti Chilukoti |Published : December 5, 2016 10:50 AM IST

A coronary heart disease is a leading cause of heart disease in India. And there have been many research studies that have been done to come up with simple yet effective treatment approaches to treat heart blockages. One such treatment option is chelation in which a chelating agent is used to clear the heart block and treat a heart attack or coronary artery disease. However, the effectiveness and safety of the treatment are still in doubt. Our expert Dr Tilak Suvarna, Senior Interventional Cardiologist, Head Department of Cardiology, Asian Heart Institute, Mumbai, explains what chelation therapy is and its role in treating heart disease.

How is it done?

During chelation therapy, the patient is given an IV infusion of ethylenediaminetetraacetic acid (EDTA), a chelating agent. As the compound enters the blood stream and it chelates (binds) minerals present in the body, which is then excreted in urine. Calcium is deposited in the arteries of a person having a heart blockage or plaque deposition. So when EDTA reaches the artery, it binds the calcium present in the plaque deposits, clearing the plaque from the blood stream. Also read about is excess calcium dangerous for your health?

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Chelation therapy for heart disease -- YES or NO?

For years, chelation therapy is used to treat mercury and lead poisoning, however, its role in treating heart disease is not yet proved. Although it is believed to be safe, randomised trials on chelation therapy for heart disease could not yield a definite result. More research studies and clinical trials need to be done before it is recommended safe. Some studies have also shown that it can cause several side-effects ranging from a headache and nausea to kidney failure.

The Trial to Assess Chelation Therapy (TACT), sponsored by the National Institutes of Health didn't show positive results to support the therapy. Moreover, there is no proof whether The American Heart Association has approved the treatment. However, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) hasn't approved chelation therapy for treating heart disease. Read more about medicines for heart disease use, side-effects, interactions and precautions.

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