THE VALUE of electroshock in the treatment of various psychiatric disorders is now well established.1 The dangers associated with it, however, have sometimes prevented needy patients from receiving the benefits of treatment. The use of thiamylal (surital®2) sodium immediately prior to administration of an electric convulsion appears to abate some of these dangers and to make shock available to certain patients for whom it would otherwise be contraindicated.
Thiamylal sodium is a new, ultra-short-acting thiobarbiturate, which in this study was used by the intravenous route. In all cases a 2.5% solution was injected on the electroshock table immediately prior to the application of current. The administration of drug sufficient to destroy the corneal reflex was found either to eliminate the muscular contractions or so materially to reduce them that electroshock was safe, despite the presence of known fractures. The usual facial twitchings and upward movements of the eyeballs