Continuation ECT: Relapse prevention in affective disorders

Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, School of Medicine, SUNY Stony Brook.
Convulsive therapy 10/1994; 10(3):189-94.
Source: PubMed


Relapse rates after the acute treatment of affective disorders with drugs or electroconvulsive therapy (ECT) are high (often 50-95%), despite preventive pharmacotherapy. In practice, some patients receive continuation and maintenance ECT after successful treatment of the index episode with ECT. We reviewed the charts of patients with affective illnesses who received continuation ECT (C-ECT) in our inpatient service from 1985 to 1991. In 33 courses of C-ECT, mean intertreatment interval was 10.1 days and the average duration of treatment was 10 weeks. One-year follow-up was available for 21 patients. Seven (33%) patients relapsed and needed re-admission within 1 year. The relapse rate for the patients with delusional depression was 42%, lower than the 95% reported for patients with delusional depression maintained on continuation pharmacotherapy before the C-ECT program started in our facility. No single factor examined was a significant predictor of relapse except C-ECT, which exhibited a sustained prophylactic effect for the year after the index episode.

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    ABSTRACT: Electroconvulsive therapy (ECT) is an effective treatment for major mental illnesses. It is used to achieve rapid and short-term improvement of severe symptoms after an adequate trial of other treatment options have proven ineffective. Relapse rates following ECT are high and leading to early readmission. Objective: To study the early readmission rate in patients had received ECT and its relation with age, gender, race and clinical diagnosis. Methods: This is a retrospective descriptive study of patients who had received ECT in 1-year period. Subjects were identified from the ECT record book. Case notes of these patients were then traced and reviewed. Clinical diagnosis and demographic data were collected. Patients readmitted within 6 months after being discharged were identified. The data was compared for the readmitted and not readmitted group. Result: A total of 156 subjects who had received ECT were included in this study. Mean age was 40 years old, 51% were female and the main diagnosis was bipolar affective disorder (42.9%). Early readmission rate was 30.1%. Mean time to relapse was 5.3 months. Chi Square analysis indicated that younger age was significantly associated with early readmission among ECT patients. Conclusion: ECT patients had high early readmission rate. Adequate post ECT psychosocial intervention and pharmacotherapy may help to reduce the readmission rate.
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