[Skip to Content]
[Skip to Content Landing]
Other
January 1943

FATALITIES FOLLOWING ELECTRIC CONVULSIVE THERAPYREPORT OF TWO CASES, WITH AUTOPSY

Author Affiliations

DENVER

From the University of Colorado School of Medicine and the Colorado Psychopathic Hospital.

Arch NeurPsych. 1943;49(1):107-117. doi:10.1001/archneurpsyc.1943.02290130115011
Abstract

The present widespread use of electric convulsive therapy in psychiatry prompts one to analyze carefully occasional cases of fatality from its use. Cerletti,1 citing his original work with Bini, stated that although thousands of convulsions have been produced in patients, no deaths have occurred. In a survey of this situation by the United States Public Health Service2 in October 1941, 4 such deaths were reported, which is a rate of 0.5 per thousand of the total number of patients treated by this method. As far as we have been able to ascertain, throughout the United States up to June 1942 10 deaths, including the 2 in our experience, have occurred. Of these 10 fatalities, the cause of 2 was immediate respiratory failure, the data on 1 were unknown and the electric convulsive therapy served as a contributing cause of the others. The distribution of the cases is shown

×