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A National Survey of Electroconvulsive Therapy Use in the Russian Federation

Nelson, Alexander I MD, PhD

Original Article

A survey of electroconvulsive therapy (ECT) throughout Russia was undertaken to understand the range of ECT usage and knowledge. A survey form was distributed by mail to 1648 Russian doctors and institutions expected to deal with ECT. A total of 114 replies were received. They indicated that ECT is available to 22.4% of the country's population. In available regions, ECT is given to 1.43% of hospital admissions and 0.54 per 10,000 persons per year. ECT is used in Russian psychiatry, neurology, and addictionology. Outdated ECT instruments are used in more than one third of sites, and EEG and seizure quality are virtually never monitored. Fewer than 20% of ECTs are modified with anesthesia. There is no system or expectation for ECT training or privileging, there is no national organization that aims to advance ECT practice, and ECT research is haphazard. Nevertheless, most respondents are enthusiastic and positive about ECT, and most institutions are eager to adopt modern ECT methods.

From the Russian University of Peoples' Friendship, Department of Postgraduate Education of Medical Workers, Sub-faculty of Psycho-Somatic Pathology, Moscow, Russia. Task Force on Electroconvulsive Therapy of the World Federation of Societies of Biological Psychiatry.

Received for publication January 26, 2005; accepted May 24, 2005.

Reprints: Alexander I. Nelson, 2-28 Rizhskaya ul., Naro-Fominsk, Moscow Region, 143306 Russia (e-mail: nelson@nara.ru).

© 2005 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.