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Comparison of Antidepressant Effects Between Brief and Ultrabrief Pulse Unilateral Electroconvulsive Therapy: Brief Report of a Randomized Double-Blind Trial

Mayur, Prashanth MBBS, DPM, DNB, FRANZCP*; Harris, Anthony FRANZCP, PhD

doi: 10.1097/YCT.0b013e318218945e
Online Articles

Objective Electroconvulsive therapy (ECT) treatments with briefer pulse widths have recently shown promise.

Methods Consenting patients with major depression were randomized in a double-blind protocol into 1-millisecond brief pulse (n = 10) or 0.3-millisecond ultrabrief pulse (n = 12) right unilateral at thrice-weekly, 6 times the threshold dose treatments at identical charge rates.

Results After 8 treatments, the change from baseline in Montgomery-Åsberg Depression Scale was mean = 22.1 (SE, 4.8) for brief pulse and mean = 24.9 (SE, 4.2) for ultrabrief pulse ECT. The mean difference was 2.8 (95% confidence interval = −10.5 to 16.1; P = 0.7).

Conclusions Although inconclusive because of small sample size (type II error), ultrashort pulse widths appear to be as effective as standard pulse ECT.

From the *Mood Disorders Unit, Cumberland Hospital, Westmead; and †Department of Psychiatry, University of Sydney, New South Wales, Australia.

Received for publication December 21, 2010; accepted February 14, 2011.

Reprints: Prashanth Mayur, MBBS, DPM, DNB, FRANZCP, Cumberland Hospital, Locked Bag 7118, Parramatta, CBD, New South Wales 2124, Australia (e-mail:

The authors declare no conflict of interest.

© 2011 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.