Strategies from a multi-national sample of electroconvulsive therapy (ECT) services: Managing anesthesia for ECT during the COVID-19 pandemic

Shanthi Sarma, Grace Branjerdporn, Laura McCosker, Sean Kenworthy, Leanne Ryan, Vanessa Dong, Donel M. Martin, Halia O'Shea, Colleen Loo

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)
29 Downloads (Pure)

Abstract

Electroconvulsive therapy (ECT) is important in the management of severe, treatment-resistant, and life-threatening psychiatric illness. Anesthesia supports the clinical efficacy and tolerability of ECT. The COVID-19 pandemic has significantly disrupted ECT services, including anesthesia. This study documents strategies for managing ECT anesthesia during the pandemic. Data were collected between March and November 2021, using a mixed-methods, cross-sectional, electronic survey. Clinical directors in ECT services, their delegates, and anesthetists worldwide participated. One hundred and twelve participants provided quantitative responses to the survey. Of these, 23.4% were anesthetists, and the remainder were ECT clinical directors. Most participants were from Australia, New Zealand, North America, and Europe. Most were located in a public hospital, in a metropolitan region, and in a ‘medium/high-risk’ COVID-19 hotspot. Half of the participants reported their services made changes to ECT anesthetic technique during the pandemic. Services introduced strategies associated with anesthetic induction, ventilation, use of laryngeal mask airways, staffing, medications, plastic barriers to separate staff from patients, and the location of extubation and recovery. This is the first multi-national, mixed-methods study to investigate ECT anesthesia practices during the COVID-19 pandemic. The results are vital to inform practice during the next waves of COVID-19 infection, ensuring patients continue to receive ECT.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)320-331
Number of pages12
JournalPsychiatry International
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 3 Nov 2022

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