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Dangerous Hyperglycemia Associated with Electroconvulsive Therapy

Reddy Satish M.D.; Nobler, Mitchell S. M.D.
The Journal of ECT: June 1996
Case Report: PDF Only


The literature on the effect of electroconvulsive therapy (ECT) on diabetes mellitus remains controversial, with evidence of both amelioration and worsening of hyperglycemia. Both clinical reports and animal models suggest that a critical factor in glucose homeostasis may be whether or not the diabetes is insulin dependent. We present a case in which ECT was associated with extreme hyperglycemia in a patient without known preexisting diabetes. The patient subsequently required treatment with an oral hypoglycemic agent, and eventually needed insulin. The possibility of an unmasking or exacerbation of diabetic pathology during a course of ECT must be considered. Various mechanisms by which ECT may influence hyperglycemia are discussed.

Received November 9, 1995; revised and accepted January 29, 1996.

Address correspondence and reprint requests to Dr. M. S. Nobler at Department of Biological Psychiatry, Unit 72, New York State Psychiatric Institute, 722 West 168th Street, New York, NY 10032, U.S.A.

© Lippincott-Raven Publishers.