The components of a pre-ECT consultation have been well-described, but the outcome has not been described. We describe the outcome of 369 consecutive ECT consultations.
We performed a retrospective review of ECT consultations performed at Wake Forest University School of Medicine between January 23, 1992, and October 22, 1998. Each consultation was coded as either recommending against ECT, unenthusiastic about ECT, or recommending ECT.
Thirteen percent of the patients at their first consultation needed clarification of their capacity to consent to ECT. Additional testing was recommended in 34%, and additional medical consultation was recommended for 11% of the patients. The ECT consultation recommended against ECT for 4% of patients, was unenthusiastic for an additional 15% of patients, and was enthusiastic for 81%. Likelihood of receiving ECT was strongly influenced by the consulting physician's level of enthusiasm for ECT. Enthusiasm for ECT, in turn, was highly related to diagnosis.
The recommendations from an ECT consultation appeared influential in the likelihood of receipt of ECT. The consultation's enthusiasm for ECT, in turn, was related to the patient's diagnosis. Furthermore, the consultation revealed the need for additional testing, medical consultation, or clarification of capacity to consent in a substantial number of patients.