Electroconvulsive Therapy in Schizophrenia in China: A National Survey

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Abstract

Objective

Little is known about electroconvulsive therapy (ECT) use in the treatment of schizophrenia in China. This study examined the frequency of ECT use, its trend between 2006 and 2012, and its independent demographic and clinical correlates in a nationwide survey in China.

Methods

A total of 5162 inpatients in 45 Chinese psychiatric hospitals/centers were interviewed (2696 in 2006 and 2466 in 2012). Patients' sociodemographic and clinical characteristics were recorded using a standardized protocol and data collection procedure.

Results

Electroconvulsive therapy was used in 6.1% of the whole sample; 4.7% in 2006 and 7.7% in 2012 (P < 0.001) with wide interprovince variations. Multiple logistic regression analyses of the whole sample revealed that patients receiving ECT were more likely to be women, receive second-generation antipsychotics, treated in tertiary referral centers (level III hospitals), had a shorter illness duration, and more positive and depressive symptoms (R2 = 0.181; P < 0.001).

Conclusions

Electroconvulsive therapy for schizophrenia has increased between 2006 and 2012 in China. Its percentage was higher than the figures reported in most other countries. Reasons for the substantial variations in the frequency of ECT across different provinces in China require further investigations.

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