Survey of referrals to electroconvulsive therapy in Hungary

Gábor Gazdag, Gábor Sebestyén, Eszter Zsargó, Judit Tolna, Gábor Sándor Ungvari

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

7 Citations (Scopus)


Background. The diagnostic distribution of patients treated with electroconvulsive therapy (ECT) in Hungary is significantly different from that in Western Europe or the USA. In Hungary most of the treated patients are diagnosed with schizophrenia. Aim. To analyze the practice of referring patients for ECT in Hungary. Methods. Questionnaires containing socio-demographic data were mailed to all Hungarian psychiatric units where ECT was used (n=34), and all of the psychiatrists working there were invited to participate. Respondents were asked to rate how often they considered ECT for various symptoms/syndromes on a five-point Likert Scale. Results. A total of 78 questionnaires were returned. Altogether, 89% of the respondents have referred patients to ECT, and 54.8% had done so in the last year. The respondents had most frequently recommended ECT for antipsychotic and antidepressant-resistant patients, catatonic symptoms, or patients with previous good treatment response to ECT. Conclusion. Considering the very high Hungarian suicide rate, the low referral rate in cases of severe suicidal intent and threat is surprising. The respondents also rarely considered ECT for NMS or severe depression. The discrepancy between current referral practices and standard recommendations could be decreased with more ECT training courses.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)900-904
Number of pages5
JournalWorld Journal of Biological Psychiatry
Issue number4 PART 3
Publication statusPublished - Dec 1 2009



  • Biological treatment
  • Depression
  • ECT
  • Referral
  • Schizophrenia

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychiatry and Mental health
  • Biological Psychiatry

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