No study has previously investigated whether the speed of recovery from disorientation in the post-ictal period may predict the short-term treatment outcome of electroconvulsive therapy (ECT).
This longitudinal cohort study included 57 elderly patients with unipolar or bipolar major depression, aged 60-85 years, treated with formula-based ECT. Treatment outcome was assessed weekly during the ECT course using the 17-item Hamilton Rating Scale for Depression (HRSD17). The post-ictal reorientation time (PRT) was assessed at the first and third treatments.
Longer PRTs at the first and third treatments predicted a more rapid decline and a lower end-point in continuous HRSD17 scores (p=0.002 and 0.019, respectively). None of the patients who recovered from disorientation in less than 5min met the remission criterion, defined as an HRSD17 score of 7 or less. A greater increment in stimulus dosage from the first to the third ECT session rendered a smaller relative decline in PRT (p<0.001).The limited number of subjects may reduce the generalizability of the findings.The speed of recovery from disorientation at the first and third sessions seems to be a predictor of the treatment outcome of formula-based ECT, at least in elderly patients with major depression. It remains to be clarified how the PRT may be utilized to guide stimulus dosing.
Journal of Affective Disorders , 2016