Is electroconvulsive therapy fading into oblivion? - A study of ten year trends

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Background: Despite proven efficacy, modified ECT has been variably used in the recent past, with data on the usage trend being scarce, worldwide. Aim: We aimed to do a time - series analysis to examine annual trends in modified ECT use in our tertiary teaching hospital in the last decade. Methods: A chart review was carried out on all patients who received m-ECT in our teaching hospital in the last ten years (2002 to 2011), and percentage of total inpatients receiving M-ECT each year was deduced. Along with number of ECT sessions given per year, details of demographic data, and indications for ECT were recorded. Results: In our study ECT was undersized as a treatment option, with only 1:13% of total inpatients having received ECT. Also it was noted that use began increasing from 2002, reaching a peak in 2006 (84% increase) followed by a downward trend, with a sharp decline since 2008 (61%decrease) and finally reaching a nadir in 2011 (69% decrease). Mean age of patients ranged from 31.28 to 40.1 years with a slightly high female preponderance in most year groups. The most common indication for ECT use was schizophrenia (47.8%) followed by, depression (38.9%). Conclusion: Although, our study finding is in line with the downward trend of ECT utilization rates reported worldwide, the nature and magnitude of decline cannot be explained nor compared globally due to variations, inaccuracies and heterogeneity of ECT data currently available. Further, factors responsible for such trends should become focus of future research.

Original languageEnglish
Article number3
JournalOnline Journal of Health and Allied Sciences
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 01-01-2013

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Medicine(all)


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