Medical records were retrospectively reviewed for 20 medically ill
geriatric patients who received electroconvulsive therapy (ECT) for
post-stroke depression from January 1982 to January 1991 at Massachusetts
General Hospital. Of the 19 patients (95%) who improved with ECT, 7
patients (37%) suffered relapses despite maintenance anti- depressant
medications. Relapses typically developed approximately 4 months after ECT.
Five patients (23%) developed ECT-related medical complications. Three
patients (15%) developed transient interictal confusion or amnesia. No
patient experienced an exacerbation of preexisting neurologic deficits.
These findings indicate that ECT is a generally well tolerated and
effective treatment for depressed, medically ill post-stroke geriatric