ECT in the Asia Pacific Region: What Do We Know?

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Summary:ObjectiveTo review and describe the practice of ECT in the Asia Pacific region in the year 2000.MethodA survey of 34 defined countries within the Asia Pacific region was made prior to the 1st Asia Pacific ECT Conference held in Melbourne, Australia, 2001.ResultsContact addresses for 23 of 34 countries (70%) were found with responses from 12 different countries (35%). Individual responses were received from less than 1% of the total mail out for the conference. The percentage of inpatients who received ECT was consistently less than or equal to 9%, except for Nepal where it was 25.6%. Except for Kiribati and the Solomon Islands, all devices delivered brief pulse, square wave currents. All of the 12 countries surveyed used anesthesia, preferred bilateral electrode placement and reported a response rate of at least 86%. Adverse events were uncommon, memory being the most commonly reported side effect. Community attitudes were generally negative.ConclusionDespite the difficulties in attempting to generalize about this huge and diverse region, a number of seemingly universal findings appeared in accord with the world literature. These included the widespread use of ECT, its effectiveness and its relative safety despite equally widespread community reluctance.

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