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Resolution of Severe Suicidality With a Single Electroconvulsive Therapy

Kobeissi, Jamal MD; Aloysi, Amy MD; Tobias, Kristen BA, MD; Popeo, Dennis MD; Kellner, Charles H. MD

doi: 10.1097/YCT.0b013e3181da842a
Case Reports

Electroconvulsive therapy is a rapid and effective treatment of severe depression that has been shown to quickly decrease or eliminate suicidal thoughts and behaviors. We describe the case of an 88-year-old man hospitalized for a carefully premeditated suicide attempt with highly lethal means. He was treated with a single electroconvulsive therapy (ECT) and improved markedly. His suicidal ideation remitted, and the patient was still free of suicidal ideation at 5 months of follow-up. We discuss the effect of ECT on suicidal ideation, the benefit of minimizing the number of total ECT treatments, and the possible biological markers of change after a single treatment in an ECT-naive patient.

From the Mount Sinai School of Medicine, New York.

Received for publication November 13, 2009; accepted February 4, 2010.

Reprints: Charles H. Kellner, MD, The Mount Sinai School of Medicine, One Gustave L. Levy Place, Box 1230, New York, NY 10029 (e-mail:

© 2011 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.