Physical deformity as sequela of chronic catatonia and response to electroconvulsive therapy: a case report

J ECT. 2011 Sep;27(3):e49-50. doi: 10.1097/YCT.0b013e3182107172.


Chronic catatonia with posturing can cause joint contractures leading to greater morbidity associated with the physical deformity. We report a case of a young man with chronic catatonic schizophrenia with posturing of bilateral upper limbs in flexion leading to fixed flexion contracture of left metacarpophalangeal joints. Initiation of electroconvulsive therapy along with physical rehabilitation measures helped him regain full range of motion in the right upper limb. The fixed flexion contracture, however, remained resistant to intensive treatment efforts. Early interventions in the form of electroconvulsive therapy and physical rehabilitation can be useful in reversing such potentially disabling complications.

Publication types

  • Case Reports

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Contracture / etiology*
  • Contracture / therapy
  • Electroconvulsive Therapy*
  • Hand
  • Humans
  • Hypnotics and Sedatives / therapeutic use
  • Lorazepam / therapeutic use
  • Male
  • Physical Therapy Modalities
  • Posture / physiology
  • Range of Motion, Articular
  • Schizophrenia, Catatonic / complications*
  • Schizophrenia, Catatonic / therapy


  • Hypnotics and Sedatives
  • Lorazepam