Secondary Logo

Journal Logo

Institutional members access full text with Ovid®

Pertinence of Titration and Age-Based Dosing Methods for Electroconvulsive Therapy

An International Retrospective Multicenter Study

Lemasson, Morgane, PhD*†‡§; Rochette, Louis, MSc§; Galvão, Filipe, MD; Poulet, Emmanuel, MD, PhD; Lacroix, André, AAS; Lecompte, Maxime, MD; Auriacombe, Marc, MD, PhD#**; Patry, Simon, MD, FRCPC, DFAPA; Haesebaert, Frédéric, MD, PhD∥††

doi: 10.1097/YCT.0000000000000508
Original Studies

Background Although the dosage of electroconvulsive therapy (ECT) stimulus has a major impact on the efficacy and safety of this treatment, the method used to determine an optimal dosage remains a matter of debate.

Objective We investigated factors influencing the seizure threshold (ST) in a large-sample study and compared age-based and titration dosing methods in terms of charge.

Methods A retrospective study examined data from 503 patients across France and Canada. The patients underwent right unilateral (RUL) or bitemporal (BT) ECT during a titration session before undergoing ECT. Seizure threshold and charge differences between age-based and titration-predicted methods were derived for each RUL and BT patient and compared according to sex, age, and anesthetic agents.

Results Based on our results, ST is a function of electrode placement, sex, age, and anesthetic agents. Titration and age-based methods led to completely different patterns of charges for the same electrode placement, especially in elderly and in women in the RUL group. Regression models showed that differences between the age-based and titration methods varied with respect to age, sex, and anesthetic agent. Specifically, significant effects of sex and age were observed for RUL ECT and of sex and anesthetics for BT ECT.

Conclusions This study revealed that several factors significantly influence the prediction of ECT dose, depending on individuals and treatment modalities. Caution should be exercised when using nonindividualized methods to calculate ST.

From the *Centre d'Excellence en Électroconvulsivothérapie du Québec;

Centre de Recherche de l'Institut Universitaire en Santé Mentale de Montréal, CIUSSS de l'Est-de-l'Île-de-Montréal;

Department of Psychiatry, University of Montreal, Montreal;

§Bureau d'Information et d'Études en Santé des Populations, Institut National de Santé Publique du Québec, Quebec, Canada;

PsyR2 Team, U 1028, INSERM and UMR 5292, CNRS, Center for Neuroscience Research of Lyon, CH Le Vinatier, Lyon-1 University, Bron, France;

Institut Universitaire en Santé Mentale de Québec, CIUSSS Capitale-Nationale, Quebec, Canada;

#SANSPY/CNRS USR 3413, Université de Bordeaux;

**CH Charles Perrens et CHU de Bordeaux, Bordeaux, France; and

††Centre de Recherche CERVO, Université Laval, Quebec, Canada.

Received for publication May 8, 2017; accepted April 11, 2018.

Reprints: Frédéric Haesebaert, MD, PhD, PsyR2 Team, U 1028, INSERM and UMR 5292, CNRS, Center for Neuroscience Research of Lyon, CH Le Vinatier, Lyon-1 University, Bron, France (e-mail:

F.H. is currently supported by Fonds de Recherche Quebec—Nature et Technologies (number 200123). The other 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 (

Copyright © 2018 Wolters Kluwer Health, Inc. All rights reserved