Acute electroconvulsive therapy followed by maintenance electroconvulsive therapy decreases hospital re-admission rates of older patients with severe mental illness

Assaf Shelef*, Doron Mazeh, Uri Berger, Yehuda Baruch, Yoram Barak

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Objectives: Electroconvulsive therapy (ECT) is a highly effective treatment for patients with severe mental illness (SMI). Maintenance ECT (M-ECT) is required for many elderly patients experiencing severe recurrent forms of mood disorders, whereas M-ECT for schizophrenia patients is a poorly studied treatment. We report on the outcomes in aged patients with SMI: schizophrenia and severe affective disorders treated by M-ECT of varying duration to prevent relapse after a successful course of acute ECT. The study measured the effectiveness of M-ECT in preventing hospital readmissions and reducing admission days. Method: A retrospective chart review of 42 consecutive patients comparing the number and length of psychiatric admissions before and after the start of M-ECTwas used. We analyzed diagnoses, previous ECT treatments, number of ECT treatments, and number and length of psychiatric admissions before and after M-ECT. Results: Mean age in our samplewas 71.5 (6.9) years. Twenty-two (52%) patients experienced severe affective disorders and 20 (48%) experienced schizophrenia. Patients were administered 92.8 (85.9) M-ECT treatments. Average duration of the M-ECT course was 34 (29.8) months. There were on average 1.88 admissions before M-ECT and only 0.38 admissions in the M-ECT period (P < 0.001). Duration of mean hospitalization stay decreased from 215.9 to 12.4 days during the M-ECT (P < 0.01). Conclusions: Our findings suggest that acute ECT followed by M-ECT is highly effective in selected elderly patients with SMIs.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)125-128
Number of pages4
JournalJournal of ECT
Volume31
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - 5 Jun 2015

Keywords

  • affective disorders
  • elderly
  • maintenance ECT
  • schizophrenia
  • severe mental illness

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