The 5-year longitudinal diagnostic profile and health services utilization of patients treated with electroconvulsive therapy in Quebec: a population-based study.

Publication Type:

Journal Article


Soc Psychiatry Psychiatr Epidemiol, Volume 58, Issue 4, p.629-639 (2023)


Bipolar Disorder, Electroconvulsive Therapy, Facilities and Services Utilization, Humans, Psychotic Disorders, Quebec


<p><b>PURPOSE: </b>Electroconvulsive therapy (ECT) is effective for treating several psychiatric disorders. However, only a minority of patients are treated with ECT. It is of primary importance to characterize their profile for epidemiological purposes and to inform clinical practice. We aimed to characterize the longitudinal profile of psychopathology and services utilization of patients first treated with ECT.</p><p><b>METHODS: </b>We conducted a population-based comparative study using data from a national administrative database in Quebec. Patients who received a first ECT between 2002 and 2016 were compared to controls who were hospitalized in psychiatry but did not receive ECT. We performed descriptive analyses to compare psychiatric diagnoses, domains of psychopathology (internalizing, externalizing and thought/psychotic disorders), medical services and medication use in the 5 years prior to the ECT or hospitalization.</p><p><b>RESULTS: </b>5 080 ECT patients were compared with 179 594 controls. Depressive, anxiety, bipolar and psychotic disorders were more frequent in the ECT group. 96.2% of ECT patients had been diagnosed with depression and 53.8% with a primary psychotic disorder. In the ECT group, 1.0% had been diagnosed exclusively with depression and 47.0% had disorders from that belong to all three domains of psychopathology. Having both internalizing and thought/psychotic disorders was associated with an increased likelihood of receiving ECT vs having internalizing disorders alone (unadjusted OR = 2.93; 95% CI = 2.63, 3.26). All indicators of mental health services utilization showed higher use among ECT patients.</p><p><b>CONCLUSION: </b>Our results provide robust evidence of complex longitudinal psychopathology and extensive services utilization among ECT patients.</p>

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