Stimulus dose titration for electroconvulsive therapy

Psychiatry Clin Neurosci. 2001 Apr;55(2):105-10. doi: 10.1046/j.1440-1819.2001.00795.x.


Stimulus dose titration for electroconvulsive therapy (ECT), the method to determine seizure threshold accurately, has not been commonly practiced. We describe our early experience of dose titration in 22 Chinese patients and compare seizure thresholds measured by dose titration with values predicted by the formula-based 'half-age'

Method: Seizure thresholds, as measured by dose titration, varied fourfold among our sample and the average value was 105.5 mC or 16.7 J. At the titration session, 27% of patients had seizures after a single stimulation and 37% had seizures after two stimulations. Only one patient required four stimulations to induce a seizure. No patient had significant adverse events associated with the dose titration procedure. The 'half-age' method in average overestimated seizure thresholds by 44% when compared with that measured by dose titration and in 23% of our sample, the overestimation was more than 100%. The pros and cons of dose titration and 'half-age' prediction method will be discussed. Our early experience suggests that dose titration could be performed in the majority of patients receiving ECT.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Differential Threshold / physiology
  • Drug Administration Schedule
  • Electroconvulsive Therapy / methods*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Hypnotics and Sedatives / administration & dosage*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Seizures / therapy*
  • Thiopental / administration & dosage*


  • Hypnotics and Sedatives
  • Thiopental