My skeptism was exceeded only by a lack of knowledge regarding the use of EDTA chelation. As a conventionally trained cardiovascular surgeon, the concept of free-radical pathology causing atherosclerotic vascular disease was not included in the curriculum. EDTA chelation was not a treatment option for our patients. Vitamins and minerals were not considered a valuable adjuvant to the advanced technology of angioplasty and bypass surgery. My dream of being a heart surgeon was becoming reality. However, I discovered a real problem. We were delivering symptomatic therapy and ignoring the disease process. The patients were encouraged to stop smoking, change their diet, exercise, and alter their lifestyle. Most patients were unsuccessful and were sent home for the untreated disease to continue its progression against health and life.
Because of my wife and her knowledge of vitamins, I was encouraged to learn the possible benefit of vitamin E for cardiac patients. Research led me to believe there was in fact enough evidence to substantiate the inclusion of vitamin E in my treatment protocol. There was still more I needed to learn, and I continued my quest for additional knowledge. The concept of free-radical damage to the vascular endothelial cell membrane leading plaque formation and stenosis was discovered during these studies. The information expanded the theraputic options for my vascular patients and led to my eventual attendance at a chelation workshop sponsored by ACAM. Information received at the workshop made it possible for me to formulate a treatment plan that attacked the disease process rather than just the symptoms. My skepticism was changed to belief and excitement. The addition of EDTA and a more intense vitamin regimen had provided many of my patients with the opportunity to experience improvement and healing even without surgery. The case hsitory of one of these patients serves as an example of this truth.
A 72-year-old man was presented to Athens Surgery Clinic and Vascular Treatment Center for continuation of chelation because of atherosclerotic coronary artery disease. The first coronary artery bypass surgery performed after a myocardial infarction was unsuccessful. A second coronary artery bypass also ended in break-through angina that severely limited the level of activity and threatened to decrease his life expectancy. Post-surgical medical management failed to alter his condition. He was sent home with no hope for improvement or additional options.
Determined to find help for his failing heart, research led him to consider chelation therapy. Not only was he encouraged, there was immediate improvement with reduction of anginal episodes and an increase in work capacity. EDTA chelation was given twice weekly and then reduced to monthly therapy after 30 treatments. Over 200 chelation treatments have been given since the initial medical and surgical therapy failure 22 years ago. For longer than 2 decades he has enjoyed complete symptomatic relief with no activity restriction. He was faced with the reality of an early death after his bypass surgeries failed, and was instructed to go home and enjoy the little time left to him. Chelation has truly been a gift of extended life for this gentleman.
Recently, this same patient was scheduled for coronary angiography in preparation for gallbladder surgery. His surgeon requested this study because of his cardiac history. The arteriogram showed no significant coronary artery disease. Twenty-two years earlier, there was a documented coronary artery stenosis sufficient to warrant 2 bypass procedures. He tolerated the gallbladder surgery without incident. EDTA chelation therapy is being continued on a monthly basis. He remains active without symptoms or restriction of activity.
In conclusion, this history represents a patient with coronary artery atherosclerotic disease leading to myocardial infarction and myocardial revascularization on 2 different occasions. When the second surgery ended in failure, he was given no hope for recovery. After more than 200 chelation treatments, an arteriogram has demonstrated reversal of a disease that is the number one cause of mortality in America today. The inclusion of EDTA chelation as a treatment for atherosclerotic vascular disease has been the single best therapeutic addition to my practice of general and vascular surgery which began 19 years ago.
H. Joseph Holliday, MD
Vascular, Thoradic and General Surgery
1005 West Madison Avenue
Athens, Tennessee 37303