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Electroconvulsive Therapy Practice in Poland

Gazdag, Gábor MD, PhD*; Palinska, Danuta MD, PhD; Kloszewska, Iwona MD, PhD; Sobow, Tomas MD, PhD

doi: 10.1097/YCT.0b013e3181794690
Original Studies

The aim of the study reported herein was to determine the characteristics of electroconvulsive therapy (ECT) practice in Poland.

Method: A 20-item questionnaire was sent to all Polish inpatient psychiatric facilities including all academic centers, general hospital psychiatric wards and psychiatric institutions.

Results: Each of the 58 departments (100%) replied by mail or by phone. A total of 25 departments indicated the use of ECT, but only in 20 departments was it administered regularly. Altogether, 435 patients (0.79% of all inpatients) were treated with ECT in Poland during 2005. The main indications of ECT were affective disorders. Bitemporal electrode placement was used twice or 3 times a week in each setting. Anesthesia was usually induced either with thiopental or propofol. The wide variations in the investigations for pre-ECT evaluation reflect the lack of a generally accepted ECT protocol in Poland.

Conclusion: The rate of ECT use in Poland is among the lowest in the Central-East European region, which raises the possibility that many patients who otherwise would greatly benefit from ECT do not receive this treatment.

From the *Consultation-Liaison Psychiatric Service, Szt. László Hospital, Budapest, Hungary; and †Psychiatric Department, University of Lodz, Lodz, Poland.

Received for publication January 31, 2008; accepted March 31, 2008.

Reprints: Gazdag Gábor, MD, PhD, Consultation-Liaison Psychiatric Service, Szt. László Hospital, Budapest, Gyáli út 5-7, 1097, Hungary (e-mail:

© 2009 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.