Objectives: We sought to determine the characteristics of electroconvulsive therapy (ECT) practice in Japan. Only by knowing practice patterns can standards of care be successfully developed and implemented.
Methods: From September 1, 2001, to August 31, 2003, a questionnaire was sent to 248 institutions.
Results: A total of 100 institutions (40.3%) completed the questionnaire. ECT was available in 83 institutions. A total of 1,210 patients received 11,146 ECTs from 895 psychiatrists. Brief-pulse device was used in 21 institutions. EEG monitoring was used routinely in 15 institutions. Bilateral ECT was always used. Patients who received ECT were diagnosed schizophrenia (48.9%), major depression (37.4%), catatonia (6.8%), mania (4.4%), and dysthymia (0.8%). The majority of patients who received ECT were in the age group 45-64 years (40.4%) and 65 years and older (39.3%). A total of 670 patients received a total of 6364 unmodified ECT at 60 institutions. There were no ECT-related deaths during the survey.
Conclusion: ECT use in Japan is low. More than half of ECTs instituted were unmodified. The majority of patients who received ECT were diagnosed with schizophrenia and major depression.