The extent to which electrical dose exceeds the seizure threshold is an important determinant of the efficacy of electroconvulsive therapy (ECT) but seizure thresholds have not before been evaluated using an ECT machine made in the UK. In this study seizure threshold was empirically titrated at the outset of bilateral ECT given to 100 consecutive depressed patients treated with an Ectron Series 5A ECT machine. No patient received anti-epileptic drugs. Men and women under 30 years of age (n=14) had low thresholds and men of 60 years or more (n=3) had high thresholds. Seizure thresholds varied at least threefold among other groups, suggesting that empirical titration may be desirable for most patients treated by bilateral ECT.
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