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Technique for performing electroconvulsive therapy (ECT) in adults

Author
Charles Kellner, MD
Section Editors
Peter P Roy-Byrne, MD
Stephanie B Jones, MD
Deputy Editor
David Solomon, MD

INTRODUCTION

Electroconvulsive therapy (ECT) is practiced widely in the United States and the rest of the world [1]. It is used mainly to treat severe depression, but is also indicated for patients with other conditions, including bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, schizoaffective disorder, catatonia, and neuroleptic malignant syndrome.

There is no question about the efficacy and safety of ECT. Nevertheless, it remains controversial and stigmatized because of misinformation and outdated perceptions about how the treatment is performed.

The goal of ECT is to produce a generalized cerebral seizure under general anesthesia. The technique affects the rate of remission with ECT, which varies from 20 to 80 percent in research studies using different procedures [1]. However, response and remission rates in clinical practice, using standard techniques, are at the higher end of that range.

The technique for performing ECT is reviewed here. An overview of ECT, the indications for treating unipolar major depression with ECT, the efficacy of ECT for treating unipolar depression, and medical consultation for ECT are discussed separately.

(See "Overview of electroconvulsive therapy (ECT) for adults".)

                       

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Literature review current through: Nov 2016. | This topic last updated: Fri Jul 15 00:00:00 GMT 2016.
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