Studies with electroconvulsive therapy (ECT) in elderly focus mainly on the assessment of possible side effects on the cognitive functioning; there are few studies that evaluate the effectiveness.
Evaluate the effectiveness of this treatment in the population over 65 years.
Perform a preliminary study to evaluate the response to ECT of ≥ 65 years patients with depression.
We carry out a descriptive study based on patients treated in the last 10 years in the ECT Unit of Centro Hospitalar Psiquiátrico de Lisboa.
Our initial sample consisted of 457 patients. We select patients aged ≥ 65 years with depression, and with complete data, including electroconvulsive parameters, and initial and final Hamilton Rating Scale for Depression (HRSD) scores (n = 59). Of this, 81.36% (n = 48) had unipolar depression, and 18.64% (n = 11) had bipolar depression. In the first group, the mean variation between the initial and final scores in HRSD was 13.88 points, and 27.10% (n = 13) of the patients ended the treatment in the normal range of HRSD score. In the second group, the mean variation was 12.82, and 63.60% (n = 7) ended the treatment in the normal range of HRSD. Considering the initial and final HRSD scores, it appears that unipolar depression group presents higher values (severe depression) (P < 0.05). When we compare the mean variation between the initial and final HRSD scores, we didn’t observe a statistically significant difference between the two groups. There was a clinical improvement in both.
The acute treatment with ECT appears to improve depressive symptoms in bipolar and unipolar depression, when considering an elderly population.
The authors have not supplied their declaration of competing interest.