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March 1959

Effects of Electroconvulsive Therapy on Blood Carbonic Anhydrase Activity in Man

Author Affiliations

Waverley, Mass.

From the Laboratory of Clinical Physiology, McLean Hospital.

AMA Arch NeurPsych. 1959;81(3):370-372. doi:10.1001/archneurpsyc.1959.02340150102012

Convulsions induced electrically for the treatment of mental disease give rise to marked anoxia, hypercarbia, and acidosis.1 These changes constitute a severe stress upon respiratory mechanisms of the blood, and it was therefore considered important to ascertain whether they might affect blood carbonic anhydrase activity.

Materials and Methods  Twelve patients, ranging in age from 38 to 67, were studied; nine were women. All had affective psychosis or schizophrenia. None had evidence of cardiovascular or respiratory disease, except for mild hypertension or emphysema in three. In two of the patients the violence of the convulsions was moderated by means of curare (solution of tubocurarine chloride U. S. P.). Studies were made before the first treatment and one to three days after subsequent treatments; in two instances additional measurements were made 10 and 19 days, respectively, after the last treatment. The method used is described elsewhere2; measurements were made of