IV infusion (chelation therapy) of essential nutrients, flushing metal toxins to remove mineral-rich deposits of plaque that can cause arteries to harden in a condition known as atherosclerosis
The National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine and the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute — two branches of the National Institutes of Health — agreed to fund it. Researchers from 134 facilities agreed to administer a cocktail comprising disodium EDTA, vitamins and electrolytes or a placebo to 1,708 patients who were at least 50 years old and had suffered a heart attack at least six weeks earlier. The 40 infusions were spread out over more than a year.
The researchers found that chelation did reduce patients’ overall risk of heart problems, such as stroke and angina requiring hospitalization. Chelation patients’ heart attack rate was 6%, compared with 8% for those on the placebo.
The strongest effect was seen with procedures to reopen the coronary artery: 15% of chelation patients needed them, compared with 18% of patients who got the placebo treatment. The difference was small, but it was just enough to be statistically significant, said Dr. Gervasio Lamas, the Columbia University cardiologist who led the study.