The British Journal of Psychiatry
Who benefits from electroconvulsive therapy? Combined results of the Leicester and Northwick Park trials.
H Buchan, E Johnstone, K McPherson, R L Palmer, T J Crow, S Brandon


This paper describes the results obtained by combining data from the Northwick Park and Leicester randomised controlled trials of ECT. Patients who suffered from depression in which retardation and delusions were features and who received real ECT had a significantly improved outcome at the end of four weeks of treatment (as measured by improvement in the HRSD) in comparison with those who received simulated ECT. However, this treatment effect was not detectable at six-month follow-up. Patients who were neither retarded nor deluded did not benefit significantly from real as opposed to simulated ECT.