Mini-quiz: Electroconvulsive Therapy

April 11, 2013

Periprocedural advancements, including liberalization of concomitant and pre-treatment medications, add to the comfort and tolerability of ECT.

What is the most commonly reported complaint after the patient receiving electroconvulsive therapy (ECT) treatment regains consciousness? 

For the answer, please click here.

Answer: c, headache

Discussion
Headache is the most commonly reported complaint after ECT.1 Post-ECT headache:

•develops immediately or shortly after the patient regains consciousness
•is associated occasionally with nausea, rarely with photophobia
•is usually bilateral and constant
•may be unilateral or pulsatile
•occurs in about half of patients
•is typically mild and transient
•usually responds to simple, over-the-counter analgesics (eg, acetaminophen, ibuprofen)

In some patients, however, headache may be more severe, making prophylactic intervention with an intravenous agent, such as ketorolac, appropriate.

Reference
1. Kellner CH, Bryson EO. Anesthesia advances add to safety of ECT.Psychiatr Times. 2012;29(1):12-15.

For more on this topic, see "Anesthesia Advances Add to Patient Comfort in ECT,'" by Charles H. Kellner, MD and Ethan O. Bryson, MD, from which this quiz was adapted.