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Change of Heart

Alternatives to bypass surgery`


There is a natural alternative to bypass surgery that is safe, effective, non-invasive, and almost side effect free. Itâ??s called chelation therapy and is an alternative worth considering.

It’s a story we hear nearly every day: a man in his mid-fifties develops chest pain and shortness of breath.

A visit to his doctor leads to an electrocardiogram (ECG), then an exercise stress test, perhaps later a visit to a cardiologist, more tests, and finally a diagnosis: blocked coronary arteries that require arterial stents or maybe even bypass surgery.

Doctors have even been known to tell a patient he is a “walking dead man.” This happened with my husband four years ago, so I know.

I also know how difficult coronary bypass surgery is on the patient. The heart is stopped and blood is circulated through a pump. There are a number of complications that may arise following open heart surgery, including blood clots, infection, severe pain at the sites where arteries are harvested (usually the arm and leg), brain damage, and depression.

The doctor told my husband that bypass surgery is not a cure for the heart disease that causes the blocked arteries. It’s a temporary fix that may last a few years–or it may not.

Another Option

The good news is that there is a natural alternative to bypass surgery that is safe, effective, non-invasive, and almost side effect free.

It’s called chelation therapy, and while this isn’t a household word, perhaps it should be.

This intravenous infusion of a substance called EDTA (ethylenediaminetetraacetate) in a series of treatments in a doctor’s office has shown remarkable ability to clear toxic metals and stop the calcification that leads to artery-clogging plaque–and even prevent heart attacks in patients who already have serious heart disease.

“EDTA is a synthetic amino acid that removes toxic metals like lead, cadmium, aluminum, and arsenic. It also lowers the level of calcium from the bloodstream as well as excessive iron and copper, improving heart function and elasticity of arteries,” says Terry Chappell, MD, in his book Questions from the Heart (Hampton Roads, 1995).

Dr. Chappell says EDTA helps improve blood flow to the heart: “EDTA will reduce the plaque to a certain extent and it will make the blood vessels softer and more flexible so more blood can get through.”

Scientific Evidence

Dr. Chappell recently completed a retrospective study, with a three-year follow-up, compared with similar patient groups, of patients who were treated with chelation therapy. Eight sites were included in the meta-analysis that extracted life expectancies and the possibility of new cardiac events in a group of 221 patients with known cardiac disease, many of whom had already had heart attacks and/or bypass surgery.

Based on standard medical projections, 15 individuals from this group would have been expected to have heart attacks and 6 would have been expected to die in the three-year period.

In fact, none of the patients who received chelation therapy subsequently suffered heart attacks or died.

“This is a huge reduction,” says Dr. Chappell. “In addition, 70 percent of the patients we treated with chelation said they have no more symptoms of heart disease at all.”

Chelation patients typically undergo 30 or more intravenous infusions of EDTA in a doctor’s office. Those with severe heart disease may undergo 50 or more treatments. Each treatment takes three to four hours and monthly maintenance treatments are often recommended after the initial treatments are completed.

Chelation therapy may receive greater acceptance from the medical community if a US National Institutes of Health (NIH) study currently underway shows positive results. In one of the largest studies of its kind, the NIH is recruiting 2,300 patients who have had heart attacks to undergo chelation therapy.

Providers and Cost

Dr. Chappell estimates there are approximately 1,000 doctors in the US and Canada who specialize in chelation therapy. You can find one near you through the website of the American College for Advancement in Medicine,

Chelation therapy typically costs $90 to $150 per treatment, and health insurance companies are unlikely to cover the cost unless there is a diagnosis of heavy metal toxicity. However, some patients have been able to leverage coverage from the health insurance companies based on the scientific evidence of chelation and the relatively inexpensive cost as an alternative to angioplasty and stents, costing about $12,000 and bypass surgery, costing about $70,000.

The word is out now: For patients with heart disease, chelation therapy is an alternative worth considering.

EDTA Chelation

  • neutralizes free radicals because of its antioxidant effects
  • stops blood clots
  • reduces calcium, preventing hardening of the arteries
  • lowers LDL or “bad” cholesterol
  • prevents blood vessel spasms by moving more magnesium into the cells
  • prevents the formation of artery-clogging plaque by removing toxic metals
  • lowers blood pressure by removing lead and reducing blood vessel spasms


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