# Chemistry for medical professionals

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## EDTA complexes

EDTA (ethylenediamine tetraacetate) is a hexadentate ligand. The two nitrogen atoms with their lone pairs of electrons and the four carboxy groups each with an oxygen atom (which carries the negative charge) can attach to a central ion. Since EDTA is four times negatively charged in this case, a complex with a twice positively charged central ion has an overall charge of -2.

EDTA is used as a complexing agent in different areas of chemistry, biochemistry and medicine:

• In analysis, EDTA solutions are used for the titrimetric determination of heavy metal concentrations as well as for the determination of water hardness.
• Blood clotting is calcium-dependent. By complexing the ${\text{Approx}}^{2+}$-Ions by means of EDTA or citrate, the coagulation of blood preparations can be prevented.
• In the event of poisoning with certain heavy metals (especially lead and cadmium), EDTA can be given. The heavy metal ions are complexed and can be excreted with the urine.
• In certain (rare) cases it is possible to dissolve calcium-rich kidney stones by administering EDTA.

Since EDTA forms very stable complexes, especially with calcium ions, the organism is only allowed to use ${\text{Approx}}^{2+}$"laden" EDTA (usually comes $\text{Approx}{\text{N / A}}_{2}\text{E.}\text{D.}\text{T}\text{A.}$ used), otherwise massive disruption of the calcium balance would occur.

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