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Tijdschrift voor Psychiatrie 62 (2020) 3, 180 - 186


The impact of electroconvulsive therapy on the duration of elderly inpatient hospitalisation: a retrospective chart review

M.F. Kluiver, L. van Diermen, Y. Madani, D. Schrijvers

background Reducing the length of hospital stay (lohs) of elderly psychiatric patients is of great importance. The role of electroconvulsive therapy (ect) in this process is still unclear.
aim To explore the impact of ect on the lohs in elderly (>60 years) with major depressive disorder (mdd).
method All charts of patients with a diagnosis of mdd, discharged from geriatric psychiatry wards from April 2009 to December 2017 were gathered. Two groups were further explored: those who did not receive ect although available (no-ect; n = 170) and those who received ect within 3 weeks of admission (ect<3wks; n = 60). As primary outcome measure lohs was used.
results No significant difference in lohs was observed between the no-ect group and the ect< 3wks group (mean 90.3 (sd: 109.2) and 86.4 (sd: 70.9) days; p=0.798). The distribution of diagnoses in the groups was significantly different (p<0.001) with psychotic features in 35.2% of patients in the no-ect group and 72% in the ect<3wks group. conclusions Electroconvulsive therapy did not significantly change lohs in elderly with mdd. Time until starting ect and the presence of psychotic features appear to be important confounders that need to be taken into account in further research.

keywords electroconvulsive therapy, geriatric psychiatry, length of stay, major depressive disorder