Successful use of right unilateral ECT for catatonia: A case series

Pilar Cristancho, Delaina Jewkes, Thetsu Mon, Charles Conway

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

16 Scopus citations


Catatonia is a neuropsychiatric syndrome involving motor signs in association with disorders of mood, behavior, or thought. Bitemporal electrode placement electroconvulsive therapy (ECT) is a proven effective treatment for catatonia, and this mode of ECT delivery is the preferred method of treatment in this condition. Studies in major depressive disorder have demonstrated that suprathreshold, nondominant (right) hemisphere, unilateral electrode placement ECT has fewer adverse effects, especially cognitive adverse effects, than bitemporal ECT. This case series describes the use of right unilateral (RUL) ECT in 5 patients with catatonia. Before ECT, all 5 patients in this series initially failed therapy with benzodiazepines and psychotropic medications. Each catatonic patient received a series of 8 to 12 RUL ECT in an every-other-day series. After ECT, 4 of the 5 patients had a full recovery from catatonia. One patient achieved only partial response to RUL ECT, and no additional benefit was obtained with bitemporal ECT. All patients in this case series tolerated RUL ECT without major adverse effects. This case series illustrates successful use of RUL ECT in patients with catatonia and adds to the early literature demonstrating its effective use in treating this complex condition.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)69-72
Number of pages4
JournalJournal of ECT
Issue number1
StatePublished - Mar 1 2014


  • catatonia
  • d'Elia placement
  • electroconvulsive therapy
  • right unilateral electrode placement


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