Objectives: This study aimed to describe the practice of an unmodified electroconvulsive therapy (ECT) in a typical urban hospital setting in Pakistan.
Methods: This is a retrospective naturalistic study of patients who received ECT at Rawalpindi General Hospital between June 2000 and June 2008 by chart review. All useful data that could be retrieved from the charts were recorded.
Results: The process of administering ECT at the hospital is described. During the study period, of a total of 5240 patients who were admitted to the hospital, 1520 (29%) were administered ECT. Of these, 1352 (88.9%) did not get any kind of anesthesia during the procedure. The mean age of patients was 34.89 years, and the leading diagnoses were depression (60.8%), bipolar disorder (17.8%), and schizophrenia (9.1%). The mean number of ECTs received for these diagnoses were 5.78, 5.52, and 6.34, respectively. A total of 249 (16.7%) patients discontinued ECT against medical advice.
Conclusions: In countries with limited resources, ECT is practiced in a markedly different way from more developed countries; although administering ECT without anesthesia is not desirable, in the face of severe economic constraints, it is often necessary.