Pulmonary Edema After Electroconvulsive Therapy

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A 42-year-old right-handed man with major depression, posttraumatic stress disorder, gastroesophageal reflux disease, and hypertension received 7 treatments of right unilateral electroconvulsive therapy, with the only complications being elevated blood pressure up to 180/120 mm Hg and agitation upon awakening. During eighth treatment, he experienced blood pressures as high as 210/130 mm Hg with severe agitation upon awakening from anesthesia followed by pulmonary edema. Pulmonary edema is rarely seen as a complication in electroconvulsive therapy, but if the airway becomes obstructed or there is excessive sympathetic discharge during the procedure, pulmonary edema may be more likely to occur.

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