Electroconvulsion therapy for persistent depression in the Netherlands; very low application rate
background Of all depressive disorders, 20% has a persistent course. For persistent depressive patients, electroconvulsive therapy (ect) is recommended for this patient population, since it is the most potent treatment for depression. The Dutch depression guideline advises the use of ect for persistent depressive disorder at approximately 12 months after inadequate efficacy of psychotherapy and/or pharmacological treatment.
aim To quantify the use of electroconvulsive therapy in persistent depressive patients in the Netherlands.
method Quantitative research using the Dutch registration system (diagnosis-treatment-combination; dbc) information system (dis) of the Dutch Healthcare Authority (nza).
results Of the patients within the dbc system (in 2014) with the main diagnosis of unipolar depression, 23,597 (26%) were registered for more than two years and could be classified as having a persistent depressive episode. Of these latter patients, only 278 (1.2%) received ect.
conclusion In the Netherlands, only 1.2% of patients with a persistent depression received ect, whereas this treatment could have been considered for 26% of this group. The low application rate might be caused by professionals’ inadequate knowledge about ect and the premature use of the handicap model.