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Article
March 20, 1954

VERTEBRAL FRACTURES AS A COMPLICATION OF ELECTROCONVULSIVE THERAPY

Author Affiliations

Rochester, N. Y.

From the Department of Psychiatry of the University of Rochester School of Medicine and Dentistry and the Strong Memorial and Rochester Municipal hospitals.

JAMA. 1954;154(12):981-984. doi:10.1001/jama.1954.02940460013005
Abstract

One of the complications of convulsive seizures, regardless of etiology, is compression fracture of the vertebrae. Lehndorff1 first reported this occurring in tetanus. Reed and Dancey2 and Cook and Sands3 found an incidence of 34.2% and 10.4% respectively in groups of patients with idiopathic epilepsy. After the introduction of pentylenetetrazol (Metrazol) shock treatment, Stalker and Wespi were the first of many to report on the incidence of such fractures with this form of therapy. The reported incidence has varied from 0.375% to 47%.4 However, in the majority of these papers the number of cases was small, and the design of the studies raised doubts concerning their statistical validity. In the first adequate study of a large series of cases by roentgenograms before and after pentylenetetrazol therapy, Easton and Sommers4g reported an incidence of 26.1% fractures in a series of 800 cases. The study included both

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