Neuromuscular blocking agents for electroconvulsive herapy: A systematic review

H. Mirzakhani, C. A. Welch, M. Eikermann, A. Nozari

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

33 Scopus citations


Electroconvulsive therapy (ECT) is the transcutaneous application of small electrical stimuli to the brain to induce generalised seizures for the treatment of selected psychiatric disorders. The clinical indications for ECT as an effective therapeutic modality have been considerably expanded since its introduction. Anaesthesia and neuromuscular blocking agents (NMBAs) are required to ensure patients' safety during ECT. The optimal dose of muscle relaxant for ECT reduces muscle contractions without inducing complete paralysis. Slight residual motor convulsive activity is helpful in ascertaining that a seizure has occurred, while total paralysis prolongs the procedure unnecessarily. Suxamethonium is commonly used, but nondepolarising NMBAs are indicated in patients with certain comorbidities. In this review, we summarise current concepts of NMBA management for ECT.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)3-16
Number of pages14
JournalActa Anaesthesiologica Scandinavica
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2012
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Anesthesiology and Pain Medicine


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