Postpartum catatonia treated with electroconvulsive therapy: A case report

University of North Carolina Chapel Hill, NC 27599-7160, USA.
General hospital psychiatry (Impact Factor: 2.61). 01/2012; 34(4):436.e3-4. DOI: 10.1016/j.genhosppsych.2011.11.010
Source: PubMed


Catatonia is a rare syndrome that occurs in mood and psychotic disorders, and general medical conditions. Postpartum depression affects 10%-15% of women within 6 months after delivery. Postpartum psychosis affects 0.1%-0.5% of women within weeks after delivery, though it can occur within hours; it carries risk for suicide and infanticide. There is limited evidence available to guide treatment. We review a case of postpartum psychosis that presented with catatonia and was resistant to medications, but responded to electroconvulsive therapy.

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Available from: Bradley Gaynes, Apr 17, 2014

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    ABSTRACT: Catatonia is a severe motor syndrome with an estimated prevalence among psychiatric inpatients of about 10%. At times, it is life-threatening especially in its malignant form when complicated by fever and autonomic disturbances. Catatonia can accompany many different psychiatric illnesses and somatic diseases. In order to recognize the catatonic syndrome, apart from thorough and repeated observation, a clinical examination is needed. A screening instrument, such as the Bush-Francis Catatonia Rating Scale, can guide the clinician through the neuropsychiatric examination. Although severe and life-threatening, catatonia has a good prognosis. Research on the treatment of catatonia is scarce, but there is overwhelming clinical evidence of the efficacy of benzodiazepines, such as lorazepam, and electroconvulsive therapy.
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    ABSTRACT: Postpartum depression can have devastating consequences on the mother and child. Prompt treatment is challenging. Whereas electroconvulsive therapy (ECT) is considered to be an effective treatment modality in severe depression and brings about rapid clinical improvement, little is known about ECT during the postpartum period. We systematically reviewed the literature on the use of ECT during the postpartum period using PubMed, Institute for Scientific Information Web of Knowledge and PsycINFO databases until September 2014, using the search terms "electroconvulsive therapy" or "ECT" and "postpartum". Then, we described the successful treatment with ECT and the joint mother-baby hospitalization of a woman with severe depression. Eight case reports and 8 studies were identified. All of the studies reported that ECT is effective in the postpartum period. It is well tolerated, provides a fast response and allows for breastfeeding. In addition, our case report showed the benefits of the hospitalization of the mother-baby unit. Combined ECT and joint mother-baby hospitalization could be a valuable treatment by targeting both the mother-infant relationship and the maternal depressive symptoms. Copyright © 2015. Published by Elsevier Inc.
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