A 20 Year Practice Review of Electroconvulsive Therapy for Adolescents

Chad C. Puffer, Christopher A. Wall, John E. Huxsahl, Mark A. Frye

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

34 Scopus citations


Objective: Clinical reviews of practice outcomes of adolescent patients who have received electroconvulsive therapy (ECT) remain relatively rare. This study reports the clinic practice and outcome of adolescents receiving ECT at a tertiary medical center. Methods: From April 1991 through November 2013, 51 adolescents (30 female; mean [SD] age, 16.8 [1.6] years) received ECT. The electronic medical record at the time of the first ECT session was reviewed for the clinical diagnosis, ECT lead placement and general administration, seizure duration, adverse effects, concurrent medications, and clinical outcome. Results: ECT was recommended for primary mood and psychotic disorders or catatonia. Patients received a mean (SD) of 9.3 (3.5) treatments, with initial bitemporal lead placement in 36 patients (71%). Thirty-nine patients (77%) were much or very much improved based on Clinical Global Impressions-Improvement scale at the end of the acute treatment. Prolonged seizure duration (>120 seconds) was relatively common (63%) but appeared to decrease in older patients. Conclusions: This report describes the largest group of adolescents receiving ECT since 1947, and supports ECT as a safe and effective modality for most treatment-recalcitrant psychiatric illness in youth.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)632-636
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of Child and Adolescent Psychopharmacology
Issue number7
StatePublished - Sep 1 2016

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Psychiatry and Mental health
  • Pharmacology (medical)


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