Some doctors are concerned about the safety of chelation therapy as a treatment for heart disease. A burning sensation at the injection site is the most common side effect. Less common but more serious potential side effects of chelation therapy include:
- A sudden drop in blood pressure
- Inability to create new blood cells
- Abnormally low blood-calcium levels (hypocalcemia)
Keep in mind that in chelation therapy, the medication used binds not only to metals and calcium in your blood but also to minerals that are an important part of your diet. Following chelation therapy, you'll be given vitamin supplements that contain large amounts of the minerals that chelation therapy removes from your body. Rare complications of chelation therapy include permanent kidney damage or failure. Deaths have occurred in some chelation studies.
Because of the known risks and unknown benefits of chelation therapy, talk to your doctor before trying it as a heart disease treatment.
Feb. 27, 2013
- Fuster V, ed. et al. Hurst's The Heart. 13th ed. New York, N.Y.: The McGraw-Hill Companies; 2011. http://www.accessmedicine.com/resourceTOC.aspx?resourceID=5. Accessed Jan. 4, 2013.
- Questions and answers: The NIH trial of EDTA chelation therapy for coronary heart disease. National Institutes of Health. www.nhlbi.nih.gov/news/press-releases/supplement/questions-and-answers-the-nih-trial-of-edta-chelation-therapy-for-coronary-heart-disease.html. Accessed Jan. 3, 2013.
- Results of the trial to assess chelation therapy (TACT). American Heart Association. http://my.americanheart.org/idc/groups/ahamah-public/@wcm/@sop/@scon/documents/downloadable/ucm_446204.pdf. Accessed Jan. 3, 2013.
- Fihn SD, et al. 2012 ACCF/AHA/ACP/AATS/PCNA/SCAI/STS guideline for the diagnosis and management of patients with stable ischemic heart disease: Executive summary. Journal of the American College of Cardiology. 2012;60:2566.