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November 1955

Clarification of the Problem of Vertebral Fractures from Convulsive Therapy: I. Incidence

Author Affiliations


From Western Psychiatric Institute and Clinics, University of Pittsburgh Medical Center (13). Staff Psychiatrist (Dr. Newbury). Consultant in Roentgenology (Dr. Etter).

AMA Arch NeurPsych. 1955;74(5):472-478. doi:10.1001/archneurpsyc.1955.02330170006002

REVIEW OF LITERATURE  The problem of clinically significant skeletal complications resulting from convulsive therapy continues to warrant careful study. This has been amply substantiated within the past three years by the development of new muscle-relaxant drugs1 and the necessity for standards relating to medicolegal aspects.* It is our purpose in this section of our paper to review the literature relating to the incidence of such complications, with special reference to vertebral fractures. The emphasis on vertebral fractures is dictated by the wealth of material, the wide range in reported incidence, and the apparent lack of agreement in discussions relating to mechanisms of production and methods of prevention. In contrast, there are relatively few studies dealing with the incidence of other skeletal complications. Perhaps the problem here is clear cut. Dislocations and fractures (other than vertebral) are generally diagnosed with less difficulty and usually necessitate immediate treatment, and the clinical

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