, Volume 20, Issue 3, pp 129-131,
Open Access This content is freely available online to anyone, anywhere at any time.
Date: 10 Jun 2011

ECG changes after electroconvulsive therapy, cause or consequence?

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Electroconvulsive therapy (ECT) is a commonly used treatment in psychiatric disease for severe depression. It is considered to be a relatively safe procedure, although several case reports have described cardiac complications. Significant ECG changes may occur after this treatment [13] and echocardiographic abnormalities have been described [46]. Noninvasive evaluation of several cases after ECT failed to demonstrate underlying cardiac abnormalities [1, 7]. Despite the lack of invasive studies, a generally accepted viewpoint is that ECG changes after ECT are the result of increased sympathetic activity due to massive release from the hypothalamus [2]. However, in the following two cases, we demonstrate by using invasive evaluation that the relation between ECT and subsequent ECG changes may not always be explained by this theory.

Patient 1

A 67-year-old male was admitted to our cardiology department after ECT because of low oxygen saturation and persistent ECG abnormalities (Fig. 1). H