The aim of the study reported herein was to determine the characteristics of electroconvulsive therapy (ECT) practice in Poland.
Method: A 20-item questionnaire was sent to all Polish inpatient psychiatric facilities including all academic centers, general hospital psychiatric wards and psychiatric institutions.
Results: Each of the 58 departments (100%) replied by mail or by phone. A total of 25 departments indicated the use of ECT, but only in 20 departments was it administered regularly. Altogether, 435 patients (0.79% of all inpatients) were treated with ECT in Poland during 2005. The main indications of ECT were affective disorders. Bitemporal electrode placement was used twice or 3 times a week in each setting. Anesthesia was usually induced either with thiopental or propofol. The wide variations in the investigations for pre-ECT evaluation reflect the lack of a generally accepted ECT protocol in Poland.
Conclusion: The rate of ECT use in Poland is among the lowest in the Central-East European region, which raises the possibility that many patients who otherwise would greatly benefit from ECT do not receive this treatment.