What is index electroconvulsive therapy (ECT)?

Updated: Sep 24, 2019
  • Author: Mehul V Mankad, MD; Chief Editor: Dennis M Popeo, MD  more...
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The initial phase of treatment to induce maximum response is commonly referred to as index ECT. The number of treatments needed to achieve a full clinical response in patients varies widely. Although the typical number of treatments is 6–12, [63, 42] some patients may respond after a few treatments, and some patients may not respond until after 10 treatments. [1] The total number should be a function of the patient's degree and rate of clinical improvement, as well as tolerance of the procedure. [1] Index ECT is stopped when maximal improvement is reached. [1]  ECT has a high rate of relapse if no continuation treatment (medications or less frequent ECT) is provided (see Post-Procedure below). [89]

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