Public Release: 

Alternative medicine therapy now being tested for heart disease

Rush University Medical Center

CHICAGO -- Rush University Medical Center is enrolling patients in a study that tests whether chelation is a safe treatment for patients who have had a heart attack and whether it prevents second heart attacks in these patients. Chelation therapy, as practiced today, involves the intravenous infusion of disodium ethylenediaminetetraacetic acid (EDTA), combined with high dose antioxidant vitamin and mineral supplements. The combination of calcium, zinc, cadmium, manganese, iron and copper may reduce artery-clogging calcium deposits.

Chelation was used in the 1930s and 40s to treat lead poisoning, but it still has widespread following by people who use complimentary and alternative therapies. More than one million patients have received 20 million infusions over the last year, according to complimentary and alternative medicine estimates.

Case studies published between the 1950s and 1990s demonstrate that chelation may be an effective therapy for heart disease, but very few randomized, placebo-controlled studies have been done on chelation, said Dr. Michael Davidson, director of Preventive Cardiology at Rush University Medical Center.

The Rush study, called Trial to Assess Chelation Therapy (TACT), is a five-year randomized, double-blind, placebo controlled trial designed to test the effects of chelation and high dose antioxidant vitamin and mineral supplementation versus a low dose regimen. To qualify, patients must be over the age of 50 and have documented a heart attack more than six weeks prior to enrollment. Patients who have had chelation therapy within the last five years or have had a history of allergic reaction to chelation therapy are not eligible.

Once enrolled in the study, patients will receive 30 weekly infusions of either the chelation solution or placebo, followed by 10 additional infusion sessions that will be scheduled every other week and either high dose or low dose vitamin regimen To enroll, call 888-644-6226.

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Rush University Medical Center is an academic medical center that encompasses the 729-bed Presbyterian-St. Luke's Hospital (including Rush Children's Hospital), the 79-bed Johnston R. Bowman Health Center and Rush University. Rush University, with more than 1,270 students, is home to one of the first medical schools in the Midwest, one of the nation's top-ranked nursing colleges, as well as graduate programs in allied health and the basic sciences. Rush is noted for bringing together clinical care and research to address major health problems, including arthritis and orthopedic disorders, cancer, heart disease, mental illness neurological disorders and diseases associated with aging.

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