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Dexmedetomidine and the Successful Management of Electroconvulsive Therapy Postictal Agitation: A Case Report

O'Brien, Elizabeth M.*; Rosenquist, Peter B. MD*†; Kimball, James N. MD*†; Dunn, Gregory N. MD*†; Smith, Bryan MD*†; Arias, Lorraine M. MD*†

Journal of ECT:
doi: 10.1097/YCT.0b013e3181b07c26
Case Reports

Postictal agitation after electroconvulsive therapy is a common and serious condition and when severe, requires prompt intervention to safeguard the patient and medical staff from the potential for mayhem and physical harm. We present a case report on the successful use of dexmedetomidine, an α2 agonist, in the postictal management of severe agitation in a 34-year-old morbidly obese woman, after prior modes of intervention had failed to deliver ideal conditions.

Author Information

From the Departments of *Anesthesiology and †Psychiatry, Wake Forest University School of Medicine, Winston-Salem, NC.

Received for publication April 8, 2009; accepted May 1, 2009.

Reprints: Lorraine Arias, MD, Department of Anesthesiology, Wake Forest University School of Medicine, Winston-Salem, NC 27157 (e-mail:

Financial Disclosure: None.

© 2010 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.