Procedure

Electroconvulsive Therapy

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Electroconvulsive Therapy

  • History
  1. First ECT performed in 1938 by Cerletti and Bini
  • Indications
  1. Medication resistant Major Depression
  2. Severe Major Depression with Suicidal Ideation
  3. Delusional Depression
  4. Acute Mania
  5. Severe psychiatric illness with food and fluid refusal
  6. Severe adverse medication affects
    1. Neuroleptic Malignant Syndrome
  7. Comorbid Condition
    1. Parkinson's Disease
  8. Pregnancy
    1. See Psychiatric Medications in Pregnancy
  • Contraindications
  1. Brain Tumor or other space occupying lesion
  2. Cerebrovascular Accident within the last month
  • Indications
  • Symptoms most responsive to ECT
  1. Guilt
  2. Loss of interest
  3. Agitation
  4. Anxiety
  5. Dysphoria
  6. Helplessness
  7. Worthlessness
  8. Delusions
    1. Nihilism
    2. Impoverishment
    3. Sin or guilt
  • Examination
  • Pre-procedure evaluation
  1. Complete History and Physical Examination
  2. Focused areas of attention
    1. Cardiopulmonary examination
    2. Neurologic Examination
    3. Musculoskeletal Examination
  • Labs
  • Pre-procedure evaluation
  1. Hemoglobin
  2. Hematocrit
  3. Serum electrolytes
  • Diagnostics
  • Pre-procedure evaluation
  • Technique
  1. Monitoring
    1. Blood Pressure
    2. Oxygen Saturation
    3. Telemetry monitoring of Heart Rate and rhythm
    4. Electroencephalogram
  2. Respiratory support
    1. Airway management
    2. Bag Valve Mask Ventilation
  3. Anesthesia
    1. Sedative-Hypnotic agent: Methohexital (Brevital)
    2. Paralytic Agent: Succinylcholine
  4. Electrical Stimulus
    1. Brief unilateral or bilateral stimulus
    2. Results in 50 second Generalized Seizure
  5. Course
    1. ECT administered 3 times per week
    2. Total course may last 6-12 treatments
  • Cost
  1. Each treatment: $1500
  2. Total Course (6-12 treatments): $9,000 to $18,000
  • Adverse Effects
  1. Hypertension
  2. Cardiac arrhythmia
  3. Post-ECT Confusion
  4. Memory loss
    1. Memory loss is short-term and reversible
  • Efficacy
  1. High response rate in refractory Major Depression
  2. Relapse rate after ECT: 50% within one year
  • Management following ECT (relapse prevention)
  1. Example protocol: Nortriptyline and Lithium