Electroconvulsive Therapy in Palliative Care

Department of Psychiatry and Psychology, Hospice and Palliative Medicine, Mayo Clinic, 200 First Street SW, Rochester, MN55905, USA.
The American journal of hospice & palliative care (Impact Factor: 1.38). 11/2010; 28(5):375-7. DOI: 10.1177/1049909110390203
Source: PubMed


Electroconvulsive therapy (ECT) is a highly effective psychiatric treatment for states of depression, mania, psychosis, or behavioral agitation in dementia. As it does involve intravenous access, general anesthesia, and significant side effects, it may be viewed as too ''invasive'' for patients on palliative care measures. However, we describe several patients treated on our busy ECT service at a tertiary hospital, who were receiving palliative care who, on balance, were felt to have better quality of life with continued use of ECT. We conclude that ECT should not be automatically discarded in patients receiving palliative care and offer some guidelines for its use in this population.

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