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Patients' and Their Relatives' Knowledge of, Experience With, Attitude Toward, and Satisfaction With Electroconvulsive Therapy in Hong Kong, China

Tang, Wai Kwong M.D.; Ungvari, Gabor S. M.D., Ph.D.; Chan, Grace W. L. M.Sc

Original Articles

Although electroconvulsive therapy (ECT) is a safe and efficacious treatment, there is a widespread negative view of ECT in public and professional circles. There are no data on Chinese patients' knowledge of, experience with, attitude toward, and level of satisfaction with ECT in Hong Kong. The aims of this study were to examine patients' experience of ECT, and patients' and their relatives' knowledge of, attitude toward, and level of satisfaction with ECT. To this effect, a prospective cross-sectional survey was conducted, involving 96 patients and their 87 relatives. The study showed that the majority of patients believed they had not received adequate information about ECT. The most commonly reported side effect was memory impairment. Patients and relatives had only limited knowledge of ECT, yet the majority of them were satisfied with the treatment and, having found it beneficial, maintained a positive attitude toward its use. The researchers concluded that Hong Kong Chinese patients and their relatives accepted ECT as a treatment. The way information is provided to patients and relatives when obtaining consent for ECT needs improvement.

Department of Psychiatry, Chinese University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong Special Administration Region, China

Received June 21, 2002; accepted October 9, 2002.

Address correspondence and reprint requests to Dr. W. K. Tang, Department of Psychiatry, 11/F, Prince of Wales Hospital, Shatin, N.T., Hong Kong SAR, China. E-mail:

This study was funded by the Le Hysan Foundation Research Grant and the Endowment Fund Research Grant, Chinese University of Hong Kong.

© 2002 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.