Electroconvulsive therapy for malignant catatonia in childhood

Department of Pediatric Neurology, University Medical Center, 3508 AB Utrecht, The Netherlands.
Pediatric Neurology (Impact Factor: 1.7). 04/2005; 32(3):190-2. DOI: 10.1016/j.pediatrneurol.2004.10.004
Source: PubMed


A 13-year-old female is described with presumed viral encephalitis, who developed progressive catatonia, agitation, and autonomic dysfunction. The diagnosis of malignant catatonia was made, and the patient improved with electroconvulsive treatment. This article discusses features, causes, differential diagnosis, and treatment of malignant catatonia. In children with this syndrome, electroconvulsive treatment should be considered.

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  • No preview · Article · Jan 2005 · Journal of Ect
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    ABSTRACT: Autistic regression seems to occur in about a quarter of children with autism. Its cause is unknown. Late-onset autistic regression, that is, after 2 years of age, shares some features with catatonic regression. A working hypothesis is developed that some children with autistic regression suffer from early-onset catatonic regression. This hypothesis cannot be answered from current data and is difficult to address in clinical studies in the absence of definite markers of autistic and catatonic regression. Treatment implications are theoretical and involve the potential use of anticatatonic treatments for autistic regression. Focus is on electroconvulsive therapy (ECT)--an established but controversial treatment that is viewed by many, but not all, as the most effective treatment for severe, life-threatening catatonic regression. Clinical trials of ECT in early- or late-onset autistic regression in children have not been done yet. The effects of electroconvulsive seizures--the experimental analogue of ECT--should also be tested in gamma-aminobutyric acid-ergic animal models of autistic regression, autism, catatonia, and other neurodevelopmental disorders. Purkinje cell survival and neurogenesis are putative outcome measures in these models.
    Full-text · Article · Feb 2006 · International Review of Neurobiology
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    ABSTRACT: Electroconvulsive therapy (ECT) has been in psychiatric practice for well over half a century, but it continues to incite controversy. However, it is regarded amongst psychiatrists as a safe and effective treatment and at times even a lifesaver. It offers a fairly swift but a time-limited response, opening up opportunities for initiation of more longer lasting treatments. The use of ECT in the youth is limited, and as such good studies are few and far between. The recent Practice Parameters by the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, specifically addressing ECT in adolescents, is indeed a welcome addition. Electrocovulsive therapy is as effective in the youth as it is in the adults, and the indications and contraindication are the same. The administration of ECT follows the same general principles in all age groups. One particular indication is of the use in catatonia, a motor syndrome that could occur with affective disorders, schizophrenia or medical conditions, in which it is considered to be extremely effective. The association between catatonia and autism and spectrum disorders has been noted, and in this situation, ECT is considered by some to be effective. Ethical considerations and that of capacity and informed consent are of paramount importance as are the human rights. Working in partnership with the parents/carers all the way is a must. The lack of information leaflets on ECT especially designed for young patients and their parents has to be rectified soon. Registers based on geographical health regions for those below the age of 18 will assist tremendously in epidemiological studies as well as pave the way toward more evidence-based studies that are essential.
    No preview · Article · Feb 2006 · International Review of Neurobiology
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