The development and retrospective testing of an electroencephalographic seizure quality-based stimulus dosing paradigm with ECT

J ECT. 2000 Dec;16(4):338-49. doi: 10.1097/00124509-200012000-00003.


The optimization of electroconvulsive therapy (ECT) stimulus dosing remains uncertain. Previous work suggests the potential utility of ictal EEG models of seizure adequacy, but such models have never been tested for their ability to improve the clinical dosing of ECT treatments. Using data from 149 depressed patients, the authors developed an ictal electroencephalographic (EEG) model that can discriminate seizures produced by more therapeutically effective and less efficacious types of stimuli. They retrospectively determined how stimulus dosing according to this seizure adequacy-based model would have differed from that actually used in an additional 61 patients who received ECT according to a standard clinical dose-titration and EEG seizure duration-based dosing strategy. Although the model indicated an increase in stimulus intensity at some point during the ECT treatment course in 23 of 61 patients, only 5 of these 23 actually received a clinical increase in stimulus intensity. The patients who did not receive this increase had a significantly diminished therapeutic response compared with the other patients. Conversely, the model also indicated that an increase in stimulus intensity that occurred clinically might have been unnecessary to achieve therapeutic efficacy in 11% of the patients. This study provides preliminary evidence that ictal EEG models have the potential to make clinically relevant seizure adequacy distinctions among ECT treatments. Further prospective work is indicated to determine the clinical utility of such models.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Depressive Disorder / therapy*
  • Electroconvulsive Therapy / methods*
  • Electroencephalography*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Models, Biological*
  • Predictive Value of Tests
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Seizures / etiology*
  • Seizures / physiopathology
  • Treatment Outcome