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Continuation of ECT After Recovery From Transient, ECT-Induced, Postictal Cortical Blindness

Sonavane, Sushma MD*; Bambole, Vivek MBBS*; Bang, Abha MBBS*; Shah, Nilesh MD, DPM, DNB*; Andrade, Chittaranjan MD

doi: 10.1097/YCT.0b013e318223c082
Case Reports

Background: Transient, postictal cortical blindness is a rare adverse effect of electroconvulsive therapy (ECT). There is no information on the safety of continuation of ECT in patients who recover from ECT-induced cortical blindness.

Methods: An 18-year-old woman with paranoid schizophrenia experienced cortical blindness immediately after her first bifrontotemporal ECT treatment. There was complete, spontaneous recovery of vision after 6 hours. Neurological examination, computed tomography of the brain, and electroencephalographic study revealed no abnormality. A combination of circumstances suggested that continuation of ECT was desirable. After clearances from neurological and ophthalmological teams, she received 6 more ECT treatments, starting 9 days after the first.

Results: After resumption of ECT, there was marked improvement in psychopathology across the ECT course. There was no recurrence of visual symptoms.

Conclusions: Patients who experience transient, ECT-induced, postictal cortical blindness may not necessarily experience the same adverse effect on rechallenge with ECT.

From the *Department of Psychiatry, Lokmanya Tilak Municipal Medical College and General Hospital, Mumbai; and †Department of Psychopharmacology, National Institute of Mental Health and Neurosciences, Bangalore, India.

Received for publication April 11, 2011; accepted April 13, 2011.

Reprints: Chittaranjan Andrade, MD, Department of Psychopharmacology, National Institute of Mental Health and Neurosciences, Bangalore 560 029, India (e-mail:

The authors have no conflicts of interest.

© 2012 by Lippincott Williams & Wilkins