Reversible Ischemic Neurologic Deficit After ECT

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We report the case of a 58-year-old woman with depression and hypertension in whom aphasia, right-sided hemiparesis, and a possible right visual field defect were identified during recovery from right unilateral electroconvulsive therapy (ECT). The neurologic deficits resolved over a 3-day period; the patient was diagnosed with a reversible ischemic neurologic deficit (RIND). Review of the pertinent literature suggests that such cerebrovascular events in the setting of ECT are extremely rare and possibly decreasing in frequency. Reasons for such a decrease may include improved screening for predisposing cardiovascular conditions and the widespread use of neuromuscular blockade, ventilatory support, and cardiovascular monitoring during the procedure. Prompt recognition of cerebrovascular events is important to prevent complications such as cerebral edema, seizures, and aspiration, as well as to use new treatments for stroke.

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