Comparison of the effect of intravenous anesthetics used for anesthesia during electroconvulsive therapy on the hemodynamic safety and the course of ECT
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Instytut Psychiatrii i Neurologii w Warszawie
II Klinika Psychiatryczna, Instytut Psychiatrii i Neurologii w Warszawie
Submission date: 2017-01-07
Final revision date: 2017-06-25
Acceptance date: 2017-07-02
Online publication date: 2017-12-30
Publication date: 2017-12-30
Corresponding author
Anna Antosik-Wójcińska   

II Klinika Psychiatryczna Instytut Psychiatrii i Neurologii Sobieskiego 9, 02-957 Warszawa, Polska
Psychiatr Pol 2017;51(6):1039-1058
Electroconvulsive therapy (ECT) is the treatment method widely used in psychiatric disorders such as depression, bipolar disorder, schizophrenia and schizoaffective disorder. The advantage of ECT is therapeutic response that occurs significantly earlier than during pharmacotherapy. Initially ECTwas used without anesthesia. Then, in the 1950s procedures with general anesthesia were introduced to reduce the complications that may occur during a seizure caused by ECT, such as broken bones, teeth, tendon rupture, muscle damage. Currently, in general anesthesia for ECTseveral medications are used interchangeably: thiopental, propofol, etomidate and ketamine. In different resorts and different countries different anestethics are used, the choice is determined mainly by the experience of each resort and a kind of tradition. The authors provide an overview of objective data showing how various anesthetics affect the quality of ECT and the presence of any hemodynamic complications after ETC. Selection of articles included in this paper was made by searching Medline and PubMed databases using specific keywords: electroconvulsive therapy, general anesthesia, the risks and benefits of thiopental, ketamine, propofol and etomidate. The results of this review are inconclusive when it comes to the effect of intravenous anesthetics on the quality of the ECT treatment and side effects relating to respiratory and cardiovascular system. On this basis it is impossible to determine which of intravenous anesthetics is most advantageous from the point of view of the patient. To develop the optimum scheme of anesthesia for ECT, it is necessary to conduct further, methodologically correct studies.
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