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Circulation. 1994 Sep;90(3):1194-9.

Chelation therapy for intermittent claudication. A double-blind, randomized, controlled trial.

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Department of Surgery, University of Otago Medical School, Dunedin, New Zealand.



The use of repeated intravenous infusions of EDTA, which has become known as "chelation therapy," has been promoted for treating intermittent claudication as well as a wide range of other disorders. Multiple reports of excellent results in large numbers of patients have encouraged the use of this regimen. The lack of well-controlled studies substantiating the benefits of this treatment has limited its use mainly to private clinics. The aim of the study was to assess the benefits of chelation therapy in patients with intermittent claudication.


A double-blind, randomized, controlled trial included 32 patients with intermittent claudication who were randomized to a treatment group (15) and a control group (17). Main outcome measures were subjective and measured walking distances and ankle/brachial pulse indices. Other outcome measures included lifestyle and subjective parameters of improvement, cardiac function, ECG, renal function, hematology, blood glucose, and lipid biochemistry. No clinically significant differences in main outcome measures between chelation therapy and placebo groups were detected up to 3 months after treatment. Measures of mood state, activities of daily living, and quality of life factors were not consistently affected by chelation therapy. An equal proportion (13%) of each group thought that they had received the active agent. The proportion of patients showing an improvement in walking distance was not significantly different between the chelation group (60%) and the control group (59%).


Chelation therapy has no significant beneficial effects over placebo in patients with intermittent claudication.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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