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Cognitive functioning in patients treated with electroconvulsive therapy

Authors Kalisova L, Kubinova M, Michalec J, Albrecht J, Madlova K, Raboch J

Received 2 August 2018

Accepted for publication 24 September 2018

Published 8 November 2018 Volume 2018:14 Pages 3025—3031

DOI https://doi.org/10.2147/NDT.S182423

Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single-blind

Peer reviewers approved by Dr Andrew Yee

Peer reviewer comments 3

Editor who approved publication: Dr Roger Pinder


Lucie Kalisova, Marketa Kubinova, Jiri Michalec, Jakub Albrecht, Katerina Madlova, Jiri Raboch

Department of Psychiatry, First Faculty of Medicine, Charles University, General University Hospital in Prague, Prague, Czech Republic

Background: Electroconvulsive therapy (ECT) is an effective treatment method for severe mental illnesses. ECT has gone through significant modernization. Side effects of ECT have largely decreased. Temporary disturbance of cognitive performance can be still present as a side effect of electroconvulsive treatment.
Methods: Cognitive functioning in the sample of patients with severe and acute mental illness treated with electroconvulsive therapy (ECT) was assessed. Basic assessment of cognitive functions was applied in the beginning, in the middle, and at the end of ECT course treatment with the Montreal Cognitive Assessment (MoCA). Complex and detailed testing of cognitive functions using the MATRICS Consensus Cognitive Battery (MCCB) was done at two points in time – within the first week of and then 6 weeks after the end of ECT.
Results: Participants had cognitive deficits at baseline, which were most likely influenced markedly by the psychopathology of the illness itself. The improvement in cognition came together with the reduction in psychopathology; psychopathology scores were significantly reduced during ECT treatment. Compared to the baseline, all scores for cognitive testing were significantly improved but remained low in comparison with the controls. After 6 weeks, there was further significant improvement.
Conclusion: Our results confirm the safety and efficacy of ECT in the treatment of severe mental disorders.

Keywords: electroconvulsive therapy, cognition, side effects, MCCB

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