IRBLleida researchers confirm the need to maintain the operation of Electroconvulsive Therapy Units as a basic service during confinement
The results support the feasibility of adapting their operation to the restrictions
Electroconvulsive Therapy Units are necessary as an essential medical procedure for critical patients, according to a study conducted in Lleida for research staff of the University Hospital of Santa Maria de Lleida (HUSM), the Department of Medicine of the University of Lleida (UdL) and members of the research group Biological foundations of mental disorders of the Biomedical Research Institute of Lleida (IRBLleida). The research, which was conducted with 31 patients from 16 March to 16 May 2020 at the HUSM, has confirmed the feasibility and necessity of maintaining the operation of these units as a basic service during the confinements caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.
The study, which has been published in the Journal of affective disorders, also showed that no patients relapsed, and that there were no infections between patients and staff in the unit during the period analysed. "The Electroconvulsive Therapy Unit decided to maintain its activity and adapt to the existing limitations in order to be able to continue treating serious patients", explained the authors of the study, in which psychiatry interns and doctors from the Mental Health Service of the HUSM, who also belong to the research group Biological foundations of mental disorders of the IRBLleida, took part.
Electroconvulsive therapy uses an electric current to treat depression and other mental illnesses. During the therapy, the electric current causes a seizure to the Central Nervous System, which can help the brain to "rewire" itself, which helps to improve symptoms.
Llorca-Bofí V, Batalla I, Adrados-Pérez M, Buil-Reiné E, Pifarré J, Torrent A. Why keep an ECT unit open during a COVID-19 lockdown period. J Affect Disord. 2021 Feb 11;285:55-57. doi: 10.1016/j.jad.2021.02.029. Epub ahead of print. PMID: 33636670; PMCID: PMC7875709.
Doctors from the team of the UTEC (Electroconvulsive Therapy Unit) of the University Hospital of Santa Maria de Lleida