March 1984

Epidemiologic Considerations in Electroconvulsive Therapy

Author Affiliations

From the Department of Psychiatry, University of Rochester (NY) Medical Center.

Arch Gen Psychiatry. 1984;41(3):246-253. doi:10.1001/archpsyc.1984.01790140036005

• Data from the Monroe County (New York) Psychiatric Case Register were grouped for 1961 through 1965, 1966 through 1970, and 1971 through 1975 for comparisons of incidence, prevalence, mortality, and length of stay associated with electroconvulsive therapy (ECT). While incidence of first ECT series declined substantially from 1961 through 1965 to 1971 through 1975 in most age-sex groups, significant declines in prevalence of admissions involving ECT occurred only among young female patients. Both prevalence and incidence analyses showed increasing specificity over time of ECT use in cases of depression. Demographic characteristics associated with ECT were accounted for by diagnostic correlates. Mortality effects associated with use of ECT were not pronounced, though a lower rate of accidental and circulatory deaths in the ECT group was noted. Lengths of hospital stay for patients receiving ECT were generally longer than for other depression hospitalizations, both for first ECT and later ECT series.