New Data Support Electroconvulsive Therapy for Depression
Advocates and users of electroconvulsive therapy (ECT) have received further scientific backing: a retrospective cohort study has provided further evidence that ECT can prevent suicide among severely depressed patients. The patient cohort comprised 27,231 men and 40,096 women who had been treated as inpatients. The average age was 45.1 years (range: 18-103 years), and 4982 patients received ECT. The primary endpoint was death by suicide within 365 days of hospital discharge. The secondary endpoints were death not by suicide and total mortality. The cause-specific hazard ratio (csHR) was calculated for patients with ECT, compared with patients without ECT. In the propensity score-weighted analysis, ECT was linked to a significantly reduced suicide risk (csHR: 0.53; 95% CI, 0.31 - 0.92). According to the calculations, ECT was associated with a significantly decreased total mortality risk (hazard ratio, 0.75; 95% CI, 0.58 - 0.97). However, this was not the case for death from causes other than suicide.
@panama ECT has been used for decades as a substantial tool for the treatment of patients with severe mental illnesses. Over the past 15 years, new methods for the treatment of severely depressed patients have been tested, such as vagus nerve stimulation, transcranial magnetic stimulation, and intranasal administration of esketamine. However, in a recent review paper in the New England Journal of Medicine, American psychiatrists Randall T. Espinoza, MD, MPH, University of California, Los Angeles, and Charles H. Kellner, MD, University of South Carolina, Charleston, reported that none of these therapies had proven to be an indisputable substitute for ECT for people with severe depression.