Objective: In Hungary there has been no systematic evaluation of ECT use since 1992. Nine years ago, the legal regulation of ECT practice changed. Since 1994, the collaboration of a specialist in anesthesiology is a legal obligation. However, the introduction of the new antipsychotic and antidepressant drugs expanded the possibilities in psychopharmacological treatment. These events basically influenced ECT use. The aim of this study was to obtain an overview of ECT practice in Hungary after these changes.
Methods: A 13-item containing questionnaire was sent to all psychiatric departments.
Results: All departments except 1 replied by mail, by phone, or by e-mail. Forty-three departments indicated the use of ECT, but in clinical practice only 34 departments applied ECT in 2002. The average number of treated inpatients was 9 on ECT using departments. Altogether 0,6% of all hospitalized psychiatric inpatients received ECT in 2002. The indication for ECT was schizophrenia in 55.6% of the patients and affective disorder in 40% of the cases. Mostly bitemporal electrode placement was used usually thrice weekly. Most commonly used sleep induction agents were thiopental and propofol.
Conclusion: The rate of ECT use in Hungary is significantly lower than in the United States, in the United Kingdom, or in the Scandinavian countries and similar than in Hong Kong. The indication of ECT was schizophrenia in 55.6% of the cases.
From the *Clinic of Addictology and Psychiatry, Szt. László Hospital; †Semmelweis University; and ‡Szt. János Hospital, Budapest, Hungary
Received for publication August 27, 2003; accepted January 9, 2004.
Reprints: Dr. Gazdag Gábor, Szt. László Hospital, Clinic of Addictology and Psychiatry. Budapest, Gyáli út 5–7. 1097 Hungary (e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org).