Objective: To investigate the safety of electroconvulsive therapy (ECT) in patients receiving long-term warfarin therapy.
Patients and methods: Retrospective data were reviewed for 35 consecutively hospitalized patients who received long-term warfarin therapy and ECT at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn, between January 1, 1994, and December 31, 2001.
Results: A total of 300 ECT treatments were administered to the 35 patients. Of 284 ECT treatments for which data were available, no ECT-related complications due to anticoagulation occurred despite increases in blood pressure and pulse rate. One patient experienced ventricular tachycardia, resulting in transfer to a cardiology service for temporary monitoring. No other serious ECT-related adverse effects were noted. The rate of intertreatment delirium was similar to that reported in other studies.
Conclusions: Electroconvulsive therapy in patients receiving long-term warfarin therapy appears to be safe. Although no major adverse effects were identified in our case series, additional prospective evaluation is warranted.