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August 1946

ELECTRIC SHOCK THERAPY OF ELDERLY PATIENTS

Author Affiliations

MEDICAL CORPS, ARMY OF THE UNITED STATES; ALBANY, N. Y.

From the Department of Neurology and Psychiatry, Albany Medical College.

Arch NeurPsych. 1946;56(2):158-170. doi:10.1001/archneurpsyc.1946.02300190028002
Abstract

THE TREATMENT of elderly patients by means of electric shock constitutes one of the serious problems of this form of therapy. The problem centers about the difficulty of deciding whether the mental illness is sufficiently severe to warrant treatment in the face of physical handicaps. Many patients over 65 show no gross physical defects; others manifest various degrees of cardiovascular-renal impairment which increase the hazards of treatment significantly. The present

study considers a series of 53 patients each over 65 years of age who have been given electric shock therapy at the Albany Hospital during a period of three and one-half years. An attempt is made to evaluate the indications and contraindications for treatment, as well as the results and complications in this series.

CASE MATERIAL 

Incidence.  —Table 1 presents the distribution of the patients by age and by year of treatment. It will be noted that in 1941 and

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