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Behavioral and psychological symptoms of dementia (BPSD) are a heterogeneous group of clinical manifestations related to dementia, including apathy, depression, anxiety, delusions, hallucinations, disinhibition, sleep-wake cycle disturbances, aggression and agitation. BPSD have a negative impact on cognitive decline and increase complications.
Review treatment management of BPSD including non-pharmacological and pharmacological options, but mainly interventional approaches, such as electroconvulsive therapy (ECT).
We conducted a search in PubMed and ClinicalKey with the terms: “Behavioral and psychological symptoms of dementia”; “Electroconvulsive therapy”.
The vast majority of patients with dementia will develop one or more BPSD. The etiopathogenesis of BPSD is complex and multifactorial, with multiple direct and indirect factors, namely biological, psychological and social aspects and related to changes in cholinergic, dopaminergic, noradrenergic and serotoninergic circuits. Current guidelines recommend non-pharmacological interventions as the first-line approach for BPSD. Pharmacotherapy is often applied, but it carries out the risk of serious side-effects and pharmacologic interactions. There is now growing evidence that interventional approaches, such as ECT, could be safe and efficient when previous treatment options have been exhausted or ineffective, with few contraindications and transient/limited adverse effects.
BPSD represent a heterogeneous group of non-cognitive symptoms and behavior that affects most of dementia patients. Combination of non-pharmacological and pharmacological interventions is the recommended therapeutic for BPSD. However, there is usually limited clinical improvement and issues related to tolerability and effectiveness. Currently, ECT is considered a safe and effective option.
ECT is a potentially life-saving treatment for patients with severe or treatment resistant depression. Cognitive function disturbances following ECT are generally transient, but could be of longer duration in some cases
To assess the cognitive side effects in patients with affective disorders treated with a course of electroconvulsive therapy (ECT).
Cognitive functions of patients who undergo ECT was assessed prior to start of treatment, midway of the course of treatment and after end of the course of treatment using Montreal Cognitive Assessment (MoCA). We did a retrospective analysis of MoCA scores of 15 patients who received bilateral ECT in 2017-2018. In order to assess the efficacy of ECT in the treatment of their illness, we did a retrospective analysis of Montgomery Asberg Depression Rating Scale (MADRS) scores of 18 patients who received bilateral ECT in 2017-2018
Only 7% of the patients who underwent ECT in our sample did have significant cognitive decline as per their MoCA scores. 28% of patients achieved complete remission in their depressive symptomes. 22% of patients continued on maintenance treatment. 95% of patients showed significant improvement in their symptoms following treatment with ECT where there symptoms reduced to either mild or minimal depressive symptoms.
Cognitive side effect was not a significant side effect in our sample of patients. We did see an improvement in cognitive function in a significant number of the sample of patients as they progressed with treatment, which coincided with improvement in their affective symptoms.
Vagus Nerve Stimulation (VNS) is a neuromodulatory intervention which involves attaching an electrode to the vagus nerve. Studies investigating VNS as an acute treatment method for treatment resistent depression have shown very limited results, however there are data suggesting that VNS might have a beneficial effect on a longer term. There are also studies that suggest that a history of response to ECT might indicate a higher response rate to VNS. VNS was suggested as treatment for a patient who received maintenance ECT for treatment resistant unipolar depression during 9 years. 3 months after VNS was implanted, ECT was stopped due to the Covid-19 pandemic. In this case study we will review the patient’s response to treatment with VNS and the sudden stop of long-term ECT treatment.
To review the response to acute and maintenance ECT and VNS in this patient diagnosed with treatment resistant unipolar depression, and to compare this to the data suggesting VNS as an alternative treatment method for maintenance ECT in patients with treatment resistant depression.
Using the extensive data collected during the patient’s treatment, we will review the clinical response and side-effect burden of this patient to acute and maintenance ECT and to VNS.
The patient showed a vast improvement in depressive symptoms a few months after start of VNS treatment, while long-term maintenance ECT was stopped.
This patient’s response to VNS supports the data suggesting VNS as an alternative treatment method for maintenance ECT in patients with treatment resistant depression.
Conflict of interest
This patient received VNS treatment as part of a study conducted in our centre (UPC KULeuven) with support of Livanova. Me nor my supervisor (prof. Sienaert Pascal) are directly involved in this study. I have received no financial or other compensation fr
Electroconvulsive therapy (ECT) remains a valuable treatment for major depression with psychotic symptoms. However, it is necessary to pay special attention when there is a history of fractures.
Through the description of the following clinical case, we will emphasize the importance of screening for vertebral fractures within ECT and the different procedures that must be taken if that occurs.
We undertook a narrative literature review by performing a search on PubMed for English-written articles. The query used was “Electroconvulsive Therapy” AND “Vertebral Fractures”.
A 71-year-old woman was admitted with an episode of psychotic depression. Basic tests were performed and were all normal. After not responding to pharmacologic treatment, she was referred for ECT. The patient had a full recovery after 4 weeks of biweekly sessions. She was discharged and proposed for maintenance ECT. However, she started complaining of back pain after falling and did an X-ray and CT scan which revealed fractured L1 and L2. It was suggested conservative treatment with a Jewett orthosis. Within this period, the ECT was suspended and after a 4-week treatment, the fracture was consolidated. As there was no risk of neurological compression, the treatment was restarted with the same dosage of succinylcholine, and it was achieved complete muscular relaxation. The patient fully recovered without any orthopedic sequel.
Electroconvulsive therapy can be safely performed after conservative treatment of vertebral fractures, if special attention is provided to complete muscular relaxation. For this effect, the dosage of succinylcholine can be adjusted.
Electroconvulsive Therapy (ECT) is one of the most effective treatments for Depressive Disorder. Although its safety and tolerability have been throughout the years, it still holds common mild and rarely persistent side effects.
The aim is to review some of the most recent data on the connection between inaugural seizures in psychiatric patients being submitted to ECT for treatment of Major Depressive Disorder, while also discussing the possible contribution of the concomitant use of clozapine and clomipramine.
The authors present a case report of an episode of an inaugural seizure in a patient submitted to ECT, with concomitant use of clozapine and clomipramine. A search on Pubmed and Clinicalkey was performed, from which the relevant publications were selected and reviewed.
The authors present a 62 year old woman who developed an inaugural generalized tonic-clonic seizure after being submitted to ECT for treatment of Recurrent Major Depressive Disorder (RMDD), while also carrying out clozapine and clomipramine dosage reduction, with the purpose of discontinuation. The patient had no history of previous seizures, nor were there relevant findings in the patient’s neurological examination, blood work, brain CT or EEG.
There is a plethora of possible factors involved in the development of an inaugural seizure. Although, the risk of spontaneous seizure during ECT is low, it may be increased by the concomitant use of drugs which can lower the seizure threshold. In most cases, when ECT was resumed after removal of such triggers, there were no further complications.
Electroconvulsive therapy (ECT) is today one of the main treatments available and used in psychiatry for serious mental illnesses. Eighty years after its introduction, the ECT procedure has evolved to become a safe option based on scientific evidence. Nowadays there are no absolute contraindications for ECT, regardless of the type of population and clinical situation.
To illustrate the electroconvulsive therapy in medical comorbidities context with a case report.
Descriptive case study.
We present a 66 years old patient who suffers from a psychiatric decompensation with a diagnosis of major depressive disorder with psychotic symptoms. Due to her cardiological history (prolongation of the QT interval of possible psycopharmacological origin and a 2:1 AV block, that required the implantation of a definitive pacemaker) and partial response to psychotropic medication, the initiation of electroconvulsive therapy is proposed as the best alternative. The pacemaker was previously studied by cardiology for a very complete analysis before the procedure. It was recommended to convert it to fixed rate pacing by using a magnet. To do this, we placed it over the pacemaker during the technique. While waiting for a clinical improvement, no incidence has been produced during the sessions.
ECT should not be postponed as a last resort. Numerous studies conclude that ECT is globally the treatment of choice (70-85% response) in severe depressive conditions, over and above antidepressant drugs. The incidence of relevant cardiac complications on ECT is relatively rare (0.9%). Regarding the use of pacemakers, electroconvulsive therapy represents an effective and safe option for the patient.
ECT is an effective care with high level of recommendation. During the COVID19, new recommendations to protect patients and caregivers combined with the increasing use of medicines and medical devices (MD) for anesthesia, caused greater difficulties of supply. Even if vital for patients, it is challenging to maintain ECT in this environment.
The aim of this study is to resume the measures implemented in order to maintain ECT during COVID19.
Retrospective analysis of measures implemented to maintain the ECT during COVID19.
As FFP2 masks were restricted to intensive care units, our hospital were not supplied. After negotiations, the regional health agency (ARS) has granted us an allocation of 100 masks to maintain ECT. Our efficient stock management of personal protective equipment as well as our transparency on these stocks with ARS and sharing with other hospitals out of stock played a role in this agreement.We had to adapt our MDs references according to breaks of many ones and new recommendations. The university hospital helping us in supplying certain missing references. Considering the difficulties in supplying drugs and MDs, and limited availability of anesthetists, we have reduced the number of ECT. Prioritization of patients with vital indications had to be achieved.
The prioritization of some services by the regulatory agency causes many supply difficulties for the others. It would be important to reassess the priority of ECT in such crisis because most of the time other caregivers and regulatory agencies are not aware how they are vital for patients.
Electroconvulsive therapy is a highly effective treatment for severe psychopharmacological resistant patients but it is also a procedure that involves open airway management and has been considered as an aerosol generating procedure. The COVID-19 pandemic, has resulted in reduction in ECT services internationally. The COVID-19 pandemic has dramatically and rapidly transformed hospitals in heavily affected areas, decreasing mental health services. The need to locate critical patients in spaces intended for anesthesia, where we usually administered ECT, has forced us to decrease the number of procedures and be highly selective. In the same way, continuation and maintenance ECT (m-ECT) have also been dramatically reduced. The risk of contagion urged us to develop a protocol involving other areas of the hospital
To create a safe circuit from admission to the hospital to the ECT including emergency room and psychiatric Ward
Review of the tliterature and published protocols Workshops with Preventive Medicine, Anaesthesia and Emergency Service to elaborate a protocol Submission of the protocol to Management of the Hospital
The protocol (Figure 1) began with the screening for COVID-19 in every patient. If the PCR was (+) the patient was not excluded. We moved treatment from the PACU into the OR and if a patient tested positive It was determined that the ECT was administered in the OR
That was provided with negative pressure. Circuits were established within the Psychiatric Ward and in the areas of the hospital involved to reduce risks and patients remained isolated until negative test was confirmed The number of persons present in the treatment room was kept to the absolute minimum required and appropriate personal protective equipment was used, as prescribed by the WHO
We must keep in mind treating the most vulnerable of our patients. ECT should be seen as an essential medical procedure and made available
Electroconvulsivotherapy (ECT) one of the oldest treatments in biological psychiatry, is used nowaday mainly due to safety, efficacy and tolerability. Can be first-line treatment for mood disorders with catatonic or psychotic symptoms, and a second-line tretament to pharmacoherapy resistance or intolerable side effects.
To analyze the number of ECTs done, the number of patients submitted to this procedure in the ECT Unit in Centro Hospitalar Lisboa Norte (CHULN) comparing their diagnosis. To evaluate the number of patients that underwent maintenance and/or continuation treatment.
Retrospective study involving patients submitted to ECT from 1 of January to 31 of December of 2019. A literature review exploring the use of ECT in psychiatry was conducted.
During the 12-month period were performed 179 sessions, corresponding to 18 patients. The diagnosis were schizophrenia, 55%, bipolar disorder, 39% and 6% with major depression. Only 28% underwent continuation and/or maintenance treatment.
In this sample, of those diagnosed with schizophrenia, 90% were submitted to ECT due to oral therapy failure and 10% due to catatonia. Of those diagnosed with bipolar disorder 42.9% had a depressive episode and of these 14.2% had psychotic symptoms. This Unit is integrated in the biggest hospital of Portugal, it is import to understand the small number of patients submitted to this treatment and identify factors that may be preventing the referral of patients to this treatment. Clinicians may have the impression that ECT should be left as a last resort treatment which may explain the low percentage of major depression among our patients.
ECT is an effective and unknown treatment in the psychiatric patients. The authors compared the clinical and cognitive effects of bifrontal electrode placement with standard bitemporal electrode placement in the treatment of patient with major depression disorder and bipolar mood disorder.
Twenty -five patients with major depression disorder and Twenty-one patients with bipolar mood disorder were treated with a cource of bifrontal or bitemporal ECT. The Beck Rating Scale for depression and the Yung test for bipolar and the standardized Mini-Mental State Examination were adminestered at baseline and repeated during the cource of treatment (After 6th ECT& 1mouth later).
Forty-six of the 47 patients who completed the course of treatment met remission criteria by the 6th treatment. There were no differences between the patient given bifrontal ECT and those given bitemporal ECT in the number of treatment required to reach remission criteria. The standardized Mini-Mental State score of the patient given bitemporal ECT was simillar to those of the patient given bifrontal ECT. The result of Yung test and Beck test was similar in two BT&BF groups.
Bifrontal electrode placement was as efficacious as bitemporal electrode placement and resulted the same cognitive impairment. A study of the two placements with more cognitine measures is indicated.
La stimulation magnétique transcrânienne (rTMS) est un traitement efficace de la dépression résistante. Sa place relative par rapport aux ECT dans la stratégie thérapeutique est questionnée ainsi que leur possible complémentarité.
Matériels et méthodes
Nous avons procédé à une synthèse de la littérature sur Pubmed fin juin 2014 avec la combinaison des mots clés suivants : ECT, mECT, rTMS, versus, adjuvant, add-on, comparative, efficacy, maintenance treatment, relapse, longitudinal follow-up, depression.
Résultats et discussion
La rTMS peut être aussi efficace que l’ECT à coût équivalent sous certaines conditions (durée > 4 semaines, plus de 1200 pulses par séance, moins d’échecs médicamenteux antérieurs, et surtout absence de symptômes psychotiques). Les mécanismes d’action sont en partie communs : neurogenèse, sécrétion de facteurs neurotrophiques, transmission monoaminergique, gabaergique et glutamatergique, régulation de l’axe hypothalamo-hypophysaire et régulation de l’activité cérébrale frontal et limbique. L’action rapide de la rTMS sur le risque suicidaire reste à démontrer mais elle présente probablement un meilleur profil de tolérance cognitive en cure initiale, voire un effet procognitif. Dans les deux cas le taux de rechute est estimé entre 40 et 50 % à 3 mois en l’absence de prophylaxie adéquate. Le traitement d’entretien par rTMS consiste le plus souvent en 2 séances sur une journée de façon hebdomadaire sans consensus actuellement sur cette question. Bien que les ECT de maintenance soient bien tolérées, certains patients fragiles du fait de co-morbidités, ou réticents à certains traitements psychotropes, ou craignant les anesthésies, pourraient bénéficier de rTMS en relais des ECT. Plusieurs séries de cas plaident en ce sens.
Des essais prospectifs longitudinaux avec présence de groupes contrôles sont souhaitables, contrôlant sur la durée les traitements et les aspects cognitifs de façon objective et comparative. La rythmicité, les sous-groupes cliniques éligibles, et les traitements associés restent à préciser.
In contemporary psychiatry, depression and mania are conceived as different entities. They may occur together, as in bipolar disorder, or they may occur separately, as in unipolar depression. This view is partly based on a narrow definition of mania and a rather broad definition of depression. Generally, depression is seen as more prominent, common, and problematic; while mania appears uncommon and treatment-responsive. We suggest a reversal: mania viewed broadly, not as simply episodic euphoria plus hyperactivity, but a wide range of excitatory behaviors; and depression seen more narrowly. Further, using pharmacological and clinical evidence, and in contrast to previous theories of mania interpreted as a flight from depression, we propose the primacy of mania hypothesis (PM): depression is a consequence of the excitatory processes of mania. If correct, current treatment of depressive illness needs revision. Rather than directly lifting mood with antidepressants, the aim would be to suppress manic-like excitation, with depression being secondarily prevented. Potential objections to, and empirical tests of, the PM hypothesis are discussed.
The aim of our naturalistic-observational study was to determine the efficacy and utility of electroconvulsive therapy (ECT) in clinical population of individuals with schizophrenia where pharmacological response was suboptimal.
The cohort comprised 27 patients suffering from schizophrenia with refractoriness to antipsychotic agents and with severe, disabling symptoms. They only interventional assessing tool was clinical global impression (CGI-S) performed at the baseline and at the end of the treatment.
The administration of ECT resulted in overall clinical improvement reflected in CGI scales and descriptions in clinical notes. On 12 months follow-up period, 10 patients (37.1%) maintained improvement and were able to continue with pharmacological therapy only, suggesting its rekindling effect, especially with Clozapine. Conversely, 17 patients (62.9%) deteriorated and required an additional course of ECT to maintain improvement. In some cases, maintenance ECT treatment was required. The group who engaged in self-harming behaviour at baseline demonstrated they were more likely to relapse into psychosis at the end of the first course of ECT, their self-harming behaviour abated, especially when maintenance ECT was undertaken.
Although limited by lack of control group, small sample size, heterogeneous symptom profiles and various concurrent neuroleptic agents, the ECT proved as valuable and safe augmentative procedure when unsatisfactory response to pharmacological interventions had been demonstrated prior to interventions. This effect was evident despite the chronicity of the illness.
This paper reviews and presents data of practical impact for those administering electroconvulsive therapy (ECT). In the first section, physical and physiological aspects of the stimulus as well as methods of stimulation are discussed. The second section deals with indications for ECT, efficacy and treatment modalities such as seizure duration, treatment frequency and total number of ECT applications. The last section is devoted to side effects, risks, comedication and comorbidity.
Antidepressant drugs affect monoamines and neuropeptides in human cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) and in rodent brain. The purpose of this study was to investigate if also electroconvulsive therapy (ECT) affects these compounds in a similar manner in the CSF of depressed patients. Homovanillic acid (HVA), 5-hydroxyindoleacetic acid (5-HIAA), and corticotropin-releasing hormone (CRH)-like immunoreactivity (-LI) and neuropeptide Y (NPY)-LI were determined in CSF in six drug resistant patients with major depression. Lumbar puncture was performed at baseline and after completion of eight ECTs. ECT was associated with an increase in NPY-LI (p = 0.009) and a decrease in CRH-LI (p ≤ 0.001). HVA (p = 0.003) and 5-HIAA (p = 0.002) were significantly increased after the ECT. Findings of NPY increase and CRH decrease were similar to those following chronic treatment with citalopram, indicating that these changes might constitute one of the common underpinnings of antidepressant treatment modalities.
Mixed bipolar states are not infrequent and may be extremely difficult to treat. Lithium, anticonvulsants including valproate and carbamazepine, and antipsychotics such as olanzapine, ziprasidone, and aripiprazole have been reported to be at least partially effective in controlled clinical trials, but many patients do not respond to pharmacological approaches. Electroconvulsive therapy has been tested to be efficacious for the treatment of both manic and depressive episodes, but much less evidence is available with regards to mixed states. The aim of the review was to report the available evidence for the use of electroconvulsive therapy in mixed bipolar states.
A systematic review of the literature on treatment of mixed states, focused on electroconvulsive therapy, was made, beginning in August 1992 and ending in March 2007. The key words were “electroconvulsive therapy” and “mixed bipolar”.
Only three studies met the required quality criteria and were included. This literature suggests that ECT is an effective, safe, and probably underutilized treatment of mixed states. Recent technical developments have made ECT more friendly, tolerable, and safe. Potential alternatives, such as vagus nerve stimulation, deep brain stimulation, or transcranial stimulation, are still far to be proved as effective as ECT.
Electroconvulsive therapy (ECT) effectively treats severe depression, but not all patients remit. The aim of the study was to identify clinical factors that associate with ECT-induced remission in a community setting.
Depressed patients who underwent ECT in 2011–2014 were identified from the Swedish National Quality Register for ECT. Remission was defined as self-rated Montgomery-Åsberg Depression Rating Scale scores of 0–10 after ECT. Other registers provided data on previous antidepressant use, comorbidities, and demographics.
Of 1671 patients fulfilling the inclusion criteria, 42.8% achieved remission. Older age, education length over 9 years, psychotic symptoms, shorter duration of preceding antidepressant use, pulse width stimulus ≥ 0.50 ms, absence of substance use disorders, anxiety diagnosis, lamotrigine, and benzodiazepines, were associated with remission.
This study shows that psychotic subtype of depression and older age are clinically relevant predictors of a beneficial ECT effect. Additionally, ECT outcomes can be further improved by optimizing the treatment technique and concomitant medication.
This study examines the strength and spatial distribution of the electric field induced in the brain by electroconvulsive therapy (ECT) and magnetic seizure therapy (MST).
The electric field induced by standard (bilateral, right unilateral, and bifrontal) and experimental (focal electrically administered seizure therapy and frontomedial) ECT electrode configurations as well as a circular MST coil configuration was simulated in an anatomically realistic finite element model of the human head. Maps of the electric field strength relative to an estimated neural activation threshold were used to evaluate the stimulation strength and focality in specific brain regions of interest for these ECT and MST paradigms and various stimulus current amplitudes.
The standard ECT configurations and current amplitude of 800–900 mA produced the strongest overall stimulation with median of 1.8–2.9 times neural activation threshold and more than 94% of the brain volume stimulated at suprathreshold level. All standard ECT electrode placements exposed the hippocampi to suprathreshold electric field, although there were differences across modalities with bilateral and right unilateral producing respectively the strongest and weakest hippocampal stimulation. MST stimulation is up to 9 times weaker compared to conventional ECT, resulting in direct activation of only 21% of the brain. Reducing the stimulus current amplitude can make ECT as focal as MST.
The relative differences in electric field strength may be a contributing factor for the cognitive sparing observed with right unilateral compared to bilateral ECT, and MST compared to right unilateral ECT. These simulations could help understand the mechanisms of seizure therapies and develop interventions with superior risk/benefit ratio.
In recent years, the scientific interest in “Electroconvulsive therapy (ECT) against the patient’s natural” will has grown. Several publications have reported mostly positive outcomes in cases, where ECT has been implemented against the patient’s natural will. The author’s findings primarily indicate the effectiveness of ECT in non-consenting patients, which confirms earlier findings. All author’s overall presumption turned out to be mainly positive. Within the discussion on involuntary ECT treatment, we missed disadvantageous arguments, which also need to be considered for a balanced judgement. By bringing up the following viewpoint, would like to contribute to a balanced decision making process in cases where involuntary ECT is a legal treatment option.