South Florida Hospital News
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February 2014 - Volume 10 - Issue 8




Chelation Therapy Reduces Cardiovascular Events for Older Patients with Diabetes

Chelation treatments reduce cardiovascular events, such as heart attacks, and death in patients with diabetes but not in those who did not have diabetes, according to analyses of data from the National Institutes of Health-funded Trial to Assess Chelation Therapy (TACT). However, researchers say more research is needed before it’s known whether this promising finding leads to a treatment option.
“These are striking results that, if supported by future research, could point the way towards new treatments to prevent complications of diabetes,” said Gervasio A. Lamas, M.D., the study’s principal investigator and chairman of medicine and chief of the Columbia University Division of Cardiology at Mount Sinai Medical Center in Miami Beach.
Chelation is a chemical process in which a substance is delivered intravenously (through the veins) to bind atoms of metals or minerals, and hold them tightly so that they can be removed from the body. Chelation is conventionally used as a treatment for heavy metal (like lead) poisoning, although some people use chelation as an unapproved and unproven treatment for conditions like heart disease. Chelation therapy is not approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to treat heart disease.
TACT’s initial report was published in the March 27, 2013, issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association. The diabetes subgroup analysis of TACT was published in Circulation: Cardiovascular Quality & Outcomes and presented at the American Heart Association’s Scientific Sessions 2013 and showed that patients with diabetes were significantly impacted by chelation therapy while patients without diabetes were not.
The patients with diabetes, which made up approximately one-third of 1,708 participants, demonstrated a 41 percent overall reduction in the risk of any cardiovascular event; a 40 percent reduction in the risk of death from heart disease non-fatal stroke, or non-fatal heart attack; a 52 percent reduction in recurrent heart attacks; and a 43 percent reduction in death from any cause.
TACT was not designed to discover how or why chelation might benefit patients with diabetes, but the findings are encouraging. Additional studies are needed before a determination can be made of the potential place of chelation therapy, if any, in the treatment of patients with coronary artery disease and diabetes.
TACT was supported by grants from the NIH’s NCCAM (U01AT001156) and NHLBI (U01HL092607).
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