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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

Morbidity in electroconvulsive therapy.

BACKGROUND AND OBJECTIVE: To assess retrospectively the complications and morbidity of electroconvulsive therapy. METHODS: Complications occurring in 75 patients during 612 electroconvulsive therapy procedures under propofol anaesthesia were reviewed by data analysis. RESULTS: At least one complication occurred in 51 patients (68%) during the course of their treatment. Among these complications, 12 were potentially life-threatening: one patient developed angina pectoris, another aspiration pneumopathy, there were two incidences of bronchospasm, three hypoxic episodes (SpO2 < 92% with FiO2=1) and five severe episodes of laryngospasm which caused hypoxia. Twenty-five patients (33%) were confused for more than 2 h after the electroconvulsive therapy. Confusion recurred in 10 patients (13%) after several sessions of electroconvulsive treatment. Six patients had a traumatic complication, with one requiring surgery. CONCLUSION: Our results, compared with other studies, suggest that electroconvulsive therapy is not a low-risk procedure, with a particularly high rate of respiratory complications that may have been previously overlooked. Therefore, ambulatory anaesthesia may not be appropriate on a regular basis for most of these patients.[1]


  1. Morbidity in electroconvulsive therapy. Tecoult, E., Nathan, N. European journal of anaesthesiology. (2001) [Pubmed]
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