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Catatonia After Deep Brain Stimulation Successfully Treated With Lorazepam and Right Unilateral Electroconvulsive Therapy: A Case Report

Quinn, Davin K. MD*; Rees, Caleb BA; Brodsky, Aaron MD*; Deligtisch, Amanda MD; Evans, Daniel MD*; Khafaja, Mohamad MD*; Abbott, Christopher C. MD*

Journal of ECT:
doi: 10.1097/YCT.0b013e31829e0afa
Case Reports

Objectives: The presence of a deep brain stimulator (DBS) in a patient who develops neuropsychiatric symptoms poses unique diagnostic challenges and questions for the treating psychiatrist. Catatonia has been described only once, during DBS implantation, but has not been reported in a successfully implanted DBS patient.

Methods: We present a case of a patient with bipolar disorder and renal transplant who developed catatonia after DBS for essential tremor.

Results: The patient was successfully treated for catatonia with lorazepam and electroconvulsive therapy after careful diagnostic workup. Electroconvulsive therapy has been successfully used with DBS in a handful of cases, and certain precautions may help reduce potential risk.

Conclusions: Catatonia is a rare occurrence after DBS but when present may be safely treated with standard therapies such as lorazepam and electroconvulsive therapy.

Author Information

From the *Department of Psychiatry, University of New Mexico Health Sciences Center, †University of New Mexico School of Medicine, and ‡Department of Neurology, University of New Mexico Health Sciences Center, Albuquerque, NM.

Received for publication April 29, 2013; accepted May 28, 2013.

Reprints: Davin K. Quinn, MD, University of New Mexico Department of Psychiatry, 2600 Marble Ave NE, Albuquerque, NM 87131 (e-mail:

Dr Abbott receives grant support from UNM CTSC 1KL2 RR 31976-1 and the Dana Foundation Program in Brain and Immuno-imaging.

The authors have no conflicts of interest or financial disclosures to report.

© 2014 by Lippincott Williams & Wilkins