Electroconvulsive therapy (ECT) has been associated with memory and neuropsychological changes, but which features of ECT are associated with those changes have not been well investigated. The aim of this hypothesis-generation study was to examine correlations between ictal electroencephalographic (EEG) characteristics and cognitive side effects after ECT.
Eight patients with major depressive disorder were examined with the Wechsler Memory Scale-Revised (WMS-R), the Stroop test, the Trail Making Test, and verbal fluency before and after ECT treatment. Seven ictal EEG measurements (eg, slow-wave phase amplitude, postictal suppression) were manually rated by 3 independent psychiatrists. The correlations between ictal EEG measurements, changes in WMS-R subset scores, and non-memory-related neuropsychological assessments were examined with Spearman rank correlation.
Verbal memory, general memory, attention/concentration, delayed memory of WMS-R subset scores, and the Stroop test scores improved significantly after ECT treatment. Postictal suppression and slow-wave amplitude correlated positively with delayed memory and visual/verbal discrepancy score. Slow-wave amplitude correlated negatively with letter fluency. The longer the polyspike wave duration, the higher the attention/concentration test results.
Certain ictal EEG measurements were associated with changes in several neuropsychological test results that had improved 2 weeks after the final ECT treatment. A hypothesis-testing study with a larger sample is needed to verify the relationships between EEG measurements and neuropsychological test performance.