Waiting for Edta
An interesting letter to start the week on:
Drug-eluting stents - benefits outweigh the risks
I refer to the report, 'Drug-eluting stents - benefits outweigh the risks' (ST, Feb 22).
Success of the drug eluting stents (DES) and procedure depends on patient selection, clinical progress and stage of the disease, presence of co-morbidities, strict adherence to a healthy lifestyle, taking appropriate medication and vitamins and nutritional supplements.
It is a shame that many of the cardiac patients, while waiting for bypass surgery, have never been informed of an additional procedure that has been shown to be equally effective in the treatment of cardiovascular diseases involving the heart, brain, legs and other parts of the body where there is insufficient blood flow.
Nevertheless, some of these patients, who are in the know and against their attending doctors' instructions, have flocked to neighbouring countries for this treatment with success and at a lower cost.
I refer to the treatment which consists of an intravenous infusion consisting of the synthetic ethylenediaminetetraacetic acid, (EDTA) and magnesium salt and multi-vitamins and trace elements.
In short, this is the chelation therapy which our mainstream medical practictioners have dismissed, based on four short studies (which were later found to be biased, flawed and underpowered) and multiple editorials and comments (again based on these four studies) in mainstream medical journals.
There are doctors who have seen the benefits and efficacy of EDTA/multivitamins infusion in their cardiac patients (they have sought this treatment overseas). The costs were also lower. The number of patients in Singapore who will suffer from obstructive vascular diseases is going to increase and so will the costs, suffering and loss of productivity.
I suggest that this EDTA procedure be offered to cardiac patients while they are waiting for their bypass surgery.
From those patients who have gone through this procedure in the US, Europe, Australia and New Zealand, a significant number did not have to undergo bypass surgery when their operations were due.
For those mainstream medical practictioners who want proof of EDTA efficacy, I propose that the National Heart Centre do a double-blinded placebo controlled trial, recruiting those patients on the waiting list for bypass surgery, like what the National Institute of Health in the US (www.nih.org) is doing now.
I will end by quoting Associate Professor Tan Huay Cheem of the National University Hospital: 'In real practice, we can't always wait for clinical trial data.'
Dr Tan Soon Kiam
angry doc is not familiar with chelation therapy (except in the context of treatment for autism, but that's another story...), but a quick search on Pubmed reveals that there are more than four studies regarding the efficacy of EDTA chelation therapy for cardiovascular disease, and the results are not exactly encouraging.
In fact, even NIH, in this editorial on the the trial on chelation therapy mentioned by Dr Tan above, acknowledges that the current available evidence do not support the use of chelation therapy in cardiovasuclar disease, and that contrary to what Dr Tan has stated, chelation therapy is expensive; Dr Tan also omitted the fact that chelation therapy can have potentially 'serious side effects'.
In angry doc's opinion, the quote: 'In real practice, we can't always wait for clinical trial data' is not really appropriate in the context of EDTA therapy for cardiovascular disease; while absence of evidence of efficacy is not evidence of absence of efficacy, evidence of absence of efficacy *is* evidence of absence of efficacy. angry doc is more inclined to use this misquote:
'Nothing happens, no evidence efficacy is produced, no evidence of inefficacy is acknowledged, it's awful!'