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J Affect Disord. 2006 Jan;90(1):67-71. Epub 2005 Dec 7.

Electroconvulsive therapy in Belgium: a nationwide survey on the practice of electroconvulsive therapy.

Author information

  • 1ECT Department, Center Sint-Jozef, Katholieke Universiteit Leuven, Leuvensesteenweg 517, 3070 Kortenberg, Belgium. pascal.sienaert@uc-kortenberg.be

Abstract

OBJECTIVE:

To review and describe the practice of electroconvulsive therapy (ECT) in Belgium.

METHODS:

A 30-item questionnaire on the practice of ECT was sent to all institutions providing ECT.

RESULTS:

In 2003 ECT was offered in 32 hospitals. Although ECT hospitals are equally spread over three regions, there is a significant difference in the ECT utilization rate. There are no major regional differences in the practice of ECT. Fifty-three percent of the hospitals reported less than 10 treatment sessions per month. The major indication for ECT was depression (89.7%). Propofol was the anesthetic most commonly used (75%). Eleven departments (34.3%) used a sine wave device. Bitemporal electrode placement was the preferred option in 65.6% of all departments, and 37% of these used the combination of bitemporal electrode placement and a fixed high stimulus dose. Continuation ECT and outpatient ECT were rarely used.

LIMITATIONS:

This questionnaire study relies upon answers given by psychiatrists, and did not audit actual practices.

CONCLUSIONS:

Although ECT is widely available in Belgium, it remains underused and the practice of ECT is amenable for improvement. Guidelines should be implemented and continuing education is needed.

PMID:
16337689
DOI:
10.1016/j.jad.2005.09.016
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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