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Few studies have looked at subjective memory impairment from electroconvulsive therapy (ECT) after treatment completion. We aimed to systematically review all available evidence for subjective post-treatment effects.
We included 16 studies in this review. There was considerable between-study heterogeneity in clinical population, ECT modality and assessment scales used. The most common assessment scale (eight studies) was the Squire Subjective Memory Questionnaire. The majority of studies reported an improvement in subjective memory after ECT, which correlated with improved depression scores. Subjective complaints were fewer in studies that used ultra-brief pulse ECT. Longer pulse widths were associated with more subjective complaints, as was female gender and younger age of treatment in the largest study.
There is considerable heterogeneity between studies, limiting meaningful conclusions. Ultra-brief pulse ECT appears to result in fewer subjective complaints.
Declaration of interest
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