(Therapy, Electroconvulsive; ECT)
|During ECT, an electronic current is delivered to the brain.|
|Copyright © Nucleus Medical Media, Inc.|
Reasons for Procedure
- Severe depression that does not respond to medicine or that causes serious symptoms, like psychosis and suicidal thoughts
- Severe mania that does not respond to medicine
- Short-term changes in blood pressure and heart rate
- Short-term abnormal heart rate
- Muscle aches or soreness
- Cognitive impairment, such as problems with thinking and memory—These usually go away after a couple of weeks. In some cases, memory problems may last for several months.
- Having a history of heart problems, stroke , or high blood pressure
- Being pregnant—While ECT is used in pregnant women with severe depression, this form of therapy may increase the risk of complications in the fetus.
- Not responding well to medicine
- Increased age
What to Expect
Prior to Procedure
- Do a physical exam
- Do a complete medical and psychological history
- Ask you about any medicines you are taking, including prescription and over-the-counter medicines
- Have tests done, which may include blood tests, an electrocardiogram , and imaging of the brain
- Have you meet with an anesthesiologist
- Give you instructions about not eating or drinking before the procedure
Description of Procedure
Immediately After Procedure
How Long Will It Take?
How Much Will It Hurt?
Call Your Doctor
- Worsening of symptoms, including feelings of hopelessness or helplessness and thoughts of suicide—If you have thoughts of suicide, call your doctor or therapist right away.
- Confusion and memory loss that lasts longer than expected
- Headache, muscle aches, or soreness that lasts longer than expected
Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance http://www.dbsalliance.org
Mental Health America http://www.nmha.org
Canadian Mental Health Association http://www.ontario.cmha.ca
Canadian Psychiatric Association http://www.cpa-apc.org
Depression: how electroconvulsive therapy works. Family Doctor.org website. Available at: http://familydoctor.org/online/famdocen/home/common/mentalhealth/treatment/058.html . Updated September 2012. Accessed February 20, 2013.
Electroconvulsive therapy. Mental Health America website. Available at: http://www.nmha.org/go/information/get-info/treatment/electroconvulsive-therapy-ect . Accessed February 20, 2013.
Electroconvulsive therapy (ECT). El Camino Hospital website. Available at: http://www.elcaminohospital.org/Programs%5Fand%5FServices/Behavioral%5FHealth/Electroconvulsive%5FTherapy . Accessed February 20, 2013.
Electroconvulsive therapy (ECT) for depression. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: http://www.ebscohost.com/dynamed/what.php . Updated August 12, 2011. Accessed February 20, 2013.
Kellner CH, et al. ECT in treatment-resistant depression. Am J Psychiatry . 2012;169:1238-44.
5/13/2011 DynaMed's Systematic Literature Surveillance DynaMed's Systematic Literature Surveillance : Semkovska M, McLoughlin DM. Objective cognitive performance associated with electroconvulsive therapy for depression: a systematic review and meta-analysis. Biol Psychiatry. 2010;68(6):568-577.
- Reviewer: Rimas Lukas, MD
- Review Date: 03/2013 -
- Update Date: 00/31/2013 -