Electroconvulsive Therapy Practice Changes in Older Individuals Due to COVID-19: Expert Consensus Statement

Maria I. Lapid, Stephen Seiner, Hannah Heintz, Adriana P. Hermida, Louis Nykamp, Sohag N. Sanghani, Martina Mueller, Georgios Petrides, Brent P. Forester

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations


The ubiquitous coronavirus 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic has required healthcare providers across all disciplines to rapidly adapt to public health guidelines to reduce risk while maintaining quality of care. Electroconvulsive therapy (ECT), which involves an aerosol-generating procedure from manual ventilation with a bag mask valve while under anesthesia, has undergone drastic practice changes in order to minimize disruption of treatment in the midst of COVID-19. In this paper, we provide a consensus statement on the clinical practice changes in ECT specific to older adults based on expert group discussions of ECT practitioners across the country and a systematic review of the literature. There is a universal consensus that ECT is an essential treatment of severe mental illness. In addition, there is a clear consensus on what modifications are imperative to ensure continued delivery of ECT in a manner that is safe for patients and staff, while maintaining the viability of ECT services. Approaches to modifications in ECT to address infection control, altered ECT procedures, and adjusting ECT operations are almost uniform across the globe. With modified ECT procedures, it is possible to continue to meet the needs of older patients while mitigating risk of transmission to this vulnerable population.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1133-1145
Number of pages13
JournalAmerican Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry
Issue number11
StatePublished - Nov 2020


  • ECT
  • aerosol-generating
  • coronavirus

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geriatrics and Gerontology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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