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Electroconvulsive Therapy Practice in Ukraine

Olekseev, Aleksey MD*; Ungvari, Gabor S. MD, PhD†‡; Gazdag, Gábor MD, PhD§∥∥

doi: 10.1097/YCT.0000000000000084
Original Studies

Background Patterns of electroconvulsive therapy (ECT) use have recently been extensively surveyed in Central-Eastern Europe. However, data from post-USSR countries are limited.

Objective This study aimed to survey ECT practice in Ukraine.

Methods All psychiatric services in Ukraine were identified and contacted to obtain information on the use of ECT in 2011 using a 22-item questionnaire.

Results Of the 146 psychiatric inpatient facilities, only 5 confirmed that they performed ECT in 2011. Three other services also performed ECT but refused to provide further information. In the only private psychiatric institute where ECT was offered, 14.28% of inpatients received this treatment in 2011, whereas the corresponding figure in the 6 public psychiatric facilities was a mere 0.4%. Three centers used unmodified ECT, and only 2 centers had equipment that monitored electroencephalogram. In 7 services, in line with international recommendations, affective disorders were the first indications for ECT in Ukraine, whereas uncommon indications such as anorexia or Parkinsonism were also reported.

Conclusions This was the first survey of ECT practice conducted in Ukraine. The provision of ECT in only 8 centers is clearly insufficient for a large country such as Ukraine, which is reflected in the low rate of inpatients treated with ECT. The very limited availability of this effective treatment modality should be addressed by the Ukrainian health authorities.

Supplemental digital content is available in the text.

From the *Private Psychiatric Clinic, Odessa, Ukraine; University of Notre Dame/Marian Centre; School of Psychiatry and Clinical Neurosciences, University of Western Australia, Perth, Australia; §Centre for Psychiatry and Addiction Medicine, Szent István and Szent László Hospitals; and Department of Psychiatry and Psychotherapy, Faculty of Medicine, Semmelweis University, Budapest, Hungary.

Received for publication August 5, 2013; accepted September 18, 2013.

Reprints: Gábor Gazdag, MD, PhD, Centre for Psychiatry and Addiction Medicine, Szent István and Szent László Hospitals, Gyáli út 17-19, 1097 Budapest, Hungary (e-mail:

The authors have no conflicts of interest or financial disclosures to report.

Supplemental digital contents are available for this article. Direct URL citations appear in the printed text and are provided in the HTML and PDF versions of this article on the journal’s Web site (

© 2014 by Lippincott Williams & Wilkins