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Year : 2017  |  Volume : 4  |  Issue : 2  |  Page : 83-98

Electroconvulsive therapy in the elderly: Anesthetic considerations and Psychotropic interactions

Department of Psychiatry, Postgraduate Institute of Medical Education and Research, Chandigarh, India

Correspondence Address:
Sandeep Grover
Department of Psychiatry, Postgraduate Institute of Medical Education and Research, Chandigarh - 160 012
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/jgmh.jgmh_2_17

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Electroconvulsive therapy (ECT) has been found to be a rapid and effective treatment strategy for psychiatric and neurological conditions in the elderly, but the administration of ECT in the elderly can be challenging due to a high risk of adverse events. The increased risk can be attributed to a declined physiological reserve, the presence of physical comorbidities, and the use of multiple drugs, which interact with the electrical stimulus and the anesthetic medications used during the ECT procedure. The selection of appropriate induction agents and muscle relaxants should be guided by patient's clinical status and the psychotropic drugs being used. Modifications in the doses of psychotropic drugs also need to be carried out before ECT to reduce cardiovascular and neurological side effects. Modification in the conduct of anesthesia can also aid in augmenting seizures and in preventing common side effects of ECT. A vital step in preventing adverse events in the elderly is carrying out a thorough pre.ECT evaluation. Despite these challenges, ECT can be carried out safely in elderly patients with severe comorbidities, provided clinical ECT, and anesthetic parameters are adequately optimized.

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