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Magnetic Seizure Therapy of Treatment-Resistant Depression in a Patient With Bipolar Disorder

Kayser, Sarah MD*; Bewernick, Bettina BA*; Axmacher, Nikolai MD*†; Schlaepfer, Thomas E. MD*‡

doi: 10.1097/YCT.0b013e31817dc45a
Case Report

Electroconvulsive therapy (ECT) is a highly efficacious treatment for severe depression. However, a disadvantage of ECT is the risk of cognitive side effects. Magnetic seizure therapy (MST) is a novel treatment modality, by which therapeutic seizures are induced using rapidly alternating strong magnetic fields. In this case study, we report on successful MST treatment of an episode of otherwise treatment-resistant depression in a patient with bipolar I disorder. Compared with published ECT results, MST seizures in this case report were of shorter duration, lower ictal electroencephalogram amplitude, and less pronounced postictal suppression. Furthermore, the patient did not experience subjective side effects and particularly recovered time to full orientation more quickly with MST than what has been previously described for ECT. Taken together, these results suggest that MST, compared with ECT, might have antidepressant effects and may have fewer clinical side effects.

From the Departments of *Psychiatry and Psychotherapy and †Epileptology, University Hospital, Bonn, Germany; and ‡Departments of Psychiatry and Mental Health, The Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, MD.

Received for publication November 20, 2007; accepted April 16, 2008.

Disclosures: The patient described was treated within the frame work of a larger study comparing safety and efficacy of MST and ECT partly funded by Tonica Inc. Denmark, the manufacturer of the MST device used. Funding specifically comprised loan of the equipment and less than 50% percent of total study cost.

Reprints: Thomas E. Schlaepfer, MD, Department of Psychiatry and Psychotherapy, Sigmund-Freud-Strasse 25, University Hospital, Bonn, Germany (e-mail:

© 2009 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.