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We sought to obtain an overview of electroconvulsive therapy (ECT) practice in teaching hospitals in India.From September 1, 2001, to August 31, 2002, a 29-item questionnaire enquiring about ECT practice during the past year was sent to 188 teaching institutions and psychiatric hospitals.Seventy-four institutions (39.4%) completed the questionnaire. ECT was available in 66 institutions. A total of 19,632 patients received 114,111 instances of ECT from 316 psychiatrists, of which 13,891 patients (70.8%) received 89,475 treatments (78.4%) from 128 psychiatrists in the psychiatric hospitals. The male-to-female ratio was 1.56 to 1. Brief-pulse device was used in 39 institutions. EEG monitoring was used routinely in only 8 institutions. Bilateral ECT was used in almost all institutions. Patients with schizophrenia received ECT most frequently (36.5%), followed by patients with major depression (33.5%), mania (17.9%), catatonia (6.2%), and dysthymia (2.8%). Patients who received ECT were in age group of 45-64 years (43.9%), followed by 25-44 years (34.5%), 65 years and older (14.7%), 18-24 years (5.6%), and younger than 18 years (1.4%). A total of 10,234 patients (52%) received unmodified ECT 52,450 treatments (46%) at 33 institutions. There was one case of ECT-related death during a survey. Continuation ECT was performed in 29 institutions and maintenance ECT in 17.More than 70% of ECT administrations in India were performed in the psychiatric hospitals. Approximately half of ECT use was unmodified ECT. The majority of patients who received ECT were diagnosed with schizophrenia and major depression. ECT training programs for psychiatry residents were acceptable.