Brain magnetic resonance imaging findings in ECT-induced delirium

J Neuropsychiatry Clin Neurosci. Winter 1990;2(1):53-8. doi: 10.1176/jnp.2.1.53.


A prolonged (interictal) but reversible delirium was induced by electroconvulsive therapy (ECT) in 10 of 87 (11%) elderly depressed patients. Brain magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) revealed several structural abnormalities, particularly basal ganglia and moderate to severe subcortical white-matter lesions, in the patients who developed delirium. These findings are consistent with several lines of data that have implicated the basal ganglia and subcortical white matter in the development of delirium from other causes and suggest that lesions in these areas may predispose one to developing an interictal delirium during a course of ECT.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Basal Ganglia / pathology
  • Brain / pathology*
  • Brain Damage, Chronic / diagnosis*
  • Cerebral Cortex / pathology
  • Delirium / diagnosis*
  • Depressive Disorder / diagnosis
  • Depressive Disorder / therapy*
  • Electroconvulsive Therapy / adverse effects*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Prospective Studies
  • Risk Factors