Before chelation infusion
therapy is started a detailed study should be made of the patient
to ensure that this is an appropriate approach to the problem(s)
of the individual.
A full medical case history
and examination is the first prerequisite, including a comprehensive
personal and family history detailing all aspects of previous
health problems and current status. Questions relating to diet,
habits, emotional status, exercise, stress levels and a detailed
listing of symptoms is part of this. A full physical examination
is also required, most notably of all aspects of the circulatory
and respiratory systems.
An electrocardiogram and chest
Xray might be required as well as a number of blood tests.
Exercise tolerance tests may be used to see just how the functioning
of the heart, lungs and circulation responds to activity. A commonly
used procedure, before chelation therapy is started, and of major
importance in establishing a 'before' picture of circulatory efficiency,
is the use of what is known as bidirectional Doppler (sound
This is a painless, noninvasive
use of sound waves (ultrasonic) which is used to investigate six
major arterial sites which relate to circulation to the brain,
as well as eight sites which relate to circulation to the legs.
The Doppler equipment gives readings which tell the doctor running
the tests three important pieces of information at each site:
1. It shows whether there is any turbulence which could relate to breakaway deposits of plaque,
etc., which could be involved in production of a stroke.
2. It checks for any signs of capillary hardening in the brain, often associated with memory
loss and agerelated brain changes.
3. The major arteries are assessed for obstructions to normal flow of blood which could relate to overburdened heart function or deficient circulation to the legs.
This soundwave testing
takes about an hour and all findings are recorded on charts so
that later tests can be compared. This is also an excellent way
for the patient to appreciate visually the degree of current circulatory
Use of thermographically (heat)
sensitive film allows areas of the body which are not receiving
their full circulatory servicing to be photographed as a record
which can be compared with the same region after treatment.
Among other tests, an initial
one is performed (not for people with diabetes) after overnight
fasting (14 hours without food). This test is usually done around
midmorning, the last food (or coffee or sugar) having been
consumed around 9 pm the previous night. The fasting blood test
gives an accurate idea of cholesterol levels as well as other
key markers. Periodic monitoring of blood levels of cholesterol
and other elements (giving evidence of levels of blood fats, carbohydrates,
whether or not there is anaemia, infection, immune system problems,
liver or kidney dysfunction, etc.) is made during the chelation
treatment which can last for some months, with two or three infusions
Depending upon the condition
of the patient a blood sample may be required before each treatment,
A 24hour sample is required
for assessment of normal urinary output of creatinine, a key guide
as to kidney status. A periodic assessment is made of the creatinine
levels of the urine as the series of chelation treatments progress,
but this does not require collection of 24hour samples.
As with blood testing, the frequency of urine testing during a
series of chelation infusions will vary, depending on the nature
of the problem being treated and the health of the patient.
If there is any evidence that
the kidneys could not be expected to deal efficiently with the
elimination of EDTA during infusion, then the treatment series
would be delayed or stopped until this factor had been dealt with
appropriately. As we will see in a description of important research
by Doctors McDonagh, Rudolph and Cheraskin later in this chapter,
kidney dysfunction is often capable of being normalized by EDTA
Diet and other
A computerized dietary analysis
(based on the filling in of lengthy questionnaires) of what the
patient eats is often required so that comprehensive dietary and
supplementation advice can be given to the person being chelated,
to complement the treatment.
In addition, saliva, sweat
and faeces may need to be tested for a variety of reasons, including
assessment of what the patient's current metabolic and nutrient
status is, how well foods are being digested and absorbed, etc.
Whether such tests are needed will depend upon the individual
problems being dealt with.
This noninvasive and
inexpensive method is also sometimes used to provide an accurate
indication of heavy metal toxicity as well as to give some idea
of the current mineral status of the body. The findings from this
and the other tests allow the doctor in charge to decide just
what balance of minerals should be added to the basic EDTA infusion
solution in order to obtain the best results.
Once it has been established
that there is a problem which could benefit from EDTA infusion,
a series of treatments are scheduled, either two or three times
per week. Most chelation centres treat patients in a group setting.
A large room with appropriate
seating (usually comfortable recliners) is all that is needed
(not unlike a hairdressing or beauty salon). There are several
advantages to this approach:
1. The mutual support of people
having the same procedure is reassuring and encouraging. There
will almost always be someone present who has had a number of
infusions and who can give a personal account of what to expect.
2. The costs can be reduced,
since fewer supervisory staff are required if patients are grouped
together in this way.
3. During the 3 1/2 hours of
the infusion the patient can read, doze, chat, watch TV, listen
to a pep talk on diet or exercise from a clinician (this is a
truly 'captive audience').
The infusion itself involves
the insertion into a vein (usually in the hand or forearm, but
sometimes the lower leg) of a needle which is attached to the
container (hung on an adjustable stand), from which is dripfed
around half a litre of fluid over the 3 1/2 hours' duration of
each treatment. This liquid usually contains 2 to 3 grams of EDTA
and whatever additional minerals the doctor has decided will best
help achieve a balanced blood content.
Among the other substances
often placed in solution with the EDTA are a complex of B vitamins,
vitamin C, magnesium (extremely useful for cardiovascular health)
and heparin (an anticoagulant, enough of which is sometimes
used just to prevent any clotting at the injection site). Cranton
suggests (Cranton and Frackelton, 1982) that since magnesium is
a natural calcium antagonist and also the ion least likely to
be removed by EDTA (see Chapter 4), and that it is relatively
deficient in many people with cardiovascular and circulatory problems,
it should be supplied with the chelation process. He suggests
that the best way to do this is to use magnesiumEDTA, which
would provide an efficient delivery system and thereby increase
magnesium stores in the body.
When the infusion is being
performed, the arm is kept stable as a rule by being taped to
a padded board which rests on a cushion for comfort. It is usually
quite possible (although it is not encouraged) for the patient
to move around freely during treatment (to visit the toilet, for
example) as long as the mobile infusion is wheeled alongside.
The rate at which the EDTA
solution is dripped into the bloodstream can be varied but usually
it is at a rate of one drop per second.
As a general rule, two, but
sometimes three, treatments are given each week, and a total of
anything from 20 (for relatively mild problems) to 30 infusions
in all comprise one complete series.
On a number of occasions (sometimes
at each visit) blood and urine testing (as well as other tests)
may be carried out to ensure that kidney and other functions are
operating sufficiently well to cope with the EDTA detoxification.
This is obviously more important in elderly patients or anyone
with compromised kidney function. In some instances where a great
deal of circulatory pathology exists, followup series of
chelation infusions might be encouraged, with many people showing
benefits after up to 100 infusions.
The EDTA is eliminated from
the body, 95 per cent via the kidneys and 5 per cent via the bile,
along with the toxic metals and free ionic calcium which it has
locked on to in its transit through the circulatory system.
In hospital settings, EDTA
infusions have in the past been given daily for up to five days,
followed by a twoday rest period for the kidneys. This protocol
is now discouraged by the American medical group with the most
experience of chelation, the American Academy of Medical Preventics.
Toxicity and cautions
Walker and Gordon (1982) inform
us that EDTA is far safer than aspirin, digoxin, tetracyclin,
ethyl alcohol or the nicotine from two cigarettes, in equivalent
therapeutic doses. EDTA is used in thousands of food products
(it is in most canned foods) and its toxicity is known to be extremely
In assessing the relative
toxicity of a substance a therapeutic index is established. Firstly,
the amount of the substance which would prove lethal to half the
animals in an experimental setting is discovered by the gruesome
process of increasing their intake until half of them die. This
is the LD50 measurement (LD for lethal dose). When this
amount is divided by the amount required for a therapeutic effect
we end with a number which is the therapeutic index.
The LD50 of EDTA is
2000 milligrams per kilo of body weight, whether taken orally
or intravenously. In comparison aspirin has a toxicity equal to
558 milligrams per kilo of body weight. So in general there is
no need for concern as to general toxicity with
EDTA usage, whether by mouth (see Chapter 9) or directly into the blood.