ECT and non-memory cognition: a review

Author: Calev A; Gaudino EA; Squires NK; Zervas IM; Fink M
Br J Clin Psychol
1995 Nov
Journal Volume: 34 ( Pt 4)
Page Numbers: 505 through 515
Abstract: The literature on the effects of electroconvulsive therapy (ECT) on non- memory cognitive functions is reviewed. It is concluded that with early methods of ECT administration (sine wave, high dose), these effects are larger than those of depression. They are less pronounced, and usually do not exceed the effects of depression, when modern methods of ECT administration (brief pulse, moderate or low dose) are used. Following ECT, these functions progressively improve. At one week to seven months after ECT, performance is better than before ECT, probably because of the alleviation of both the effects of depression and of ECT. The time course to full recovery of the non-memory effects resembles that of the recovery of amnesic effects, although the latter are more pronounced. With bilateral ECT, as with right unilateral ECT, there is evidence that right hemisphere effects are more pronounced. The results of this review argue that clinicians should take the non- memory cognitive effects of ECT into account, and patients should be informed of their existence before they sign consent for ECT.