Effectiveness of Electroconvulsive Therapy and Associated Cognitive Change in Schizophrenia: A Naturalistic, Comparative Study of Treating Schizophrenia With Electroconvulsive Therapy

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Abstract

Objective

There is limited evidence regarding the relative treatment effectiveness and cognitive effects of different types of electroconvulsive therapy (ECT) in schizophrenia. In this study, we sought to determine the overall effectiveness and compare the symptomatic and cognitive outcomes of patients with schizophrenia who received different modalities of ECT treatment.

Methods

Patients received 1 of 4 of the following ECT modalities: bitemporal ECT with age-based dosing, right unilateral ECT with seizure threshold–based dosing, bitemporal ECT with seizure threshold–based dosing, and bifrontal ECT with seizure threshold–based dosing ECT. The Brief Psychiatric Rating Scale (BPRS) and Montreal Cognitive Assessment (MoCA) were administered to 62 patients before and after the ECT course.

Results

There was a significant improvement in both the total and psychotic subscales of BPRS and MoCA scores across the patients after the course of ECT. The global improvements in both BPRS and MoCA scores after ECT were not influenced by the type of ECT administered. Age-based dosing, however, was associated with poorer memory outcomes posttreatment. The overall symptomatic response rate, defined as 40% or more reduction in the psychotic subscale of BPRS, was 64.5%. The response rates did not significantly differ between the 4 types of ECT.

Conclusions

Our present findings suggest that an acute course of ECT is effective in schizophrenia and may have cognitive benefits for some patients.

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