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Am J Psychiatry. 1983 Apr;140(4):463-5.

Bilateral versus unilateral electroconvulsive therapy: efficacy in melancholia.


The authors compared the therapeutic efficacy of bilateral and unilateral electroconvulsive therapy (ECT) in 51 patients with endogenous depression who were randomly assigned to bilateral (N = 24) or unilateral (N = 27) ECT. Seizures were monitored by oscilloscope. After 6 treatments blind assessment on a modified Hamilton depression scale showed an 81.1% improvement in the bilateral group compared with a 55.5% improvement in the unilateral group. Additional treatments were prescribed ad libitum by a hospital psychiatrist who was unaware of each patient's electrode placement. The unilateral group received more total treatments and were more frequently switched to bilateral ECT. These results were independent of age, severity of illness, or sedative drug administration.

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