The aim of this study was to evaluate the effectiveness of continuation and maintenance electroconvulsive therapy (C/M-ECT) in patients with bipolar or schizoaffective disorder.
We reviewed the charts of all patients diagnosed with a bipolar or schizoaffective disorder treated with C/M-ECT from August 2009 until December 2013. We gathered demographic data and treatment variables (electrode placement, stimulus dose, and concomitant use of medication; number of C/M-ECT sessions; and number of new ECT courses). Primary outcome measure was the number of hospitalization days during C/M-ECT as compared with an equal period before starting the index course.
Twenty women (64.5%) and 11 men (35.5%) with a Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fourth Edition bipolar disorder (n = 22, 71%) or schizoaffective disorder (n = 9, 29%) received C/M-ECT. The mean (SD) age was 51.23 (14.86; range, 28–74) years. Before the start of the index ECT, patients had a mean of 290 hospitalization days (248.4 days, full hospitalization; 41.6 days, partial hospitalization), whereas during C/M-ECT, they had a mean of 214.7 hospitalization days (85.4 days, full hospitalization; 129.3 days, partial hospitalization). The number of readmissions before ECT was 2.13, whereas during C/M-ECT, it decreased to 1.48. Only the decrease in number of full hospitalization days was significant. Most patients (n = 23, 74.19%) needed an acute course of ECT during M-ECT.
Maintenance ECT seems to significantly reduce the number of full hospitalization days in patients with severe bipolar or schizoaffective disorder.