Institutional members access full text with Ovid®

Share this article on:

Electroconvulsive Therapy in a 96-Year-Old Patient With Severe Aortic Stenosis: A Case Report and Review of the Literature

O'Reardon, John P. MD; Cristancho, Mario A. MD; Cristancho, Pilar MD; Fontecha, Jeisson F. MD; Weiss, David MD

doi: 10.1097/YCT.0b013e31814da9d5
Case Reports

We report the safe administration of a course of electroconvulsive therapy (ECT) in a 96-year-old woman with severe aortic stenosis. The patient experienced a relapse of her severe depression when ECT had been withheld because of increased concerns regarding medical risk given her age and degree of aortic stenosis. Reassessment of the case confirmed severe stenosis with a valve area of 0.5 cm2 and a peak pressure gradient across the valve of 110 mm Hg. The ventricular ejection was normal at 70% however, and after a careful weighing of the risk of ECT treatment versus the risk of withholding ECT, it was decided to proceed with ECT in this case.

In the event, ECT was very well tolerated by the patient, and she experienced a full remission of symptoms. She continues to receive maintenance ECT successfully at a once-per-month frequency. This case illustrates that neither age nor aortic stenosis by itself precludes ECT in the setting of severe depression. Rather, in each case, a careful weighing of the risks both of proceeding with and withholding ECT is warranted.

From the ECT Service, Department of Psychiatry, University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine, Philadelphia, PA.

Received for publication June 29, 2007; accepted July 2, 2007.

Reprints: John P. O'Reardon, MD, Suite 4005, 3535 Market St, Philadelphia, PA 19104 (e-mail:

© 2008 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.