The British Journal of Psychiatry
Is old-fashioned electroconvulsive therapy more efficacious? A randomised comparative study of bilateral brief-pulse and bilateral sine-wave treatments.
A I Scott, C R Rodger, R H Stocks, A P Shering


In-patients suffering from major depressive disorder (endogenous subtype) were randomly allocated to treatment by either traditional ECT with constant-voltage modified sine-wave stimuli (n = 17) or modern, constant-current brief-pulse ECT (n = 14). All treatments were bilateral and monitored by simultaneous recording by EEG. The severity of depressive illness was assessed the day before treatment, after three treatments, and seven days after the last treatment. The improvement and final depression rating scores, the likelihood of recovery, and the average number of treatments received were virtually identical in the two groups. We concluded that the policy of bilateral suprathreshold modern ECT monitored by EEG is as efficacious as traditional ECT.