Electroconvulsive Therapy (ECT)

Electroconvulsive Therapy (ECT) is a part of the required Specialty Clinics rotation in the third year of residency. Patients of this service are referred by a variety of sources, including our outpatient clinic, local community agencies, psychiatrists, outpatient therapists, or from the Hershey Medical Center or other hospitals in the area. Patients are referred primarily for treatment of mood disorders; however, ECT is occasionally used for other conditions, such as intractable psychiatric disorders, schizophrenia, or catatonia.

ECT is available for both inpatients and outpatients. The procedure is conducted in the 5-Landis building of the Pennsylvania Psychiatric Institute (PPI) and is usually performed every Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, and Friday.

Residents in this rotation will learn to perform ECT under the supervision of a member of the Psychiatry faculty working together with an Anesthesiology team. In the course of this specialty clinic the residents become familiar with the technique of ECT, including electrode placement, stimulus intensity and waveform, treatment frequency, impact of concomitant antidepressants, anticonvulsants, and benzodiazepines. They become proficient in diagnostic indications and contraindications for ECT and are expected to understand legal regulations regarding the procedure.  Residents are encouraged to participate with the attending physician in consultation for patients referred for ECT.