OBJECTIVE: To investigate the safety of electroconvulsive therapy (ECT) in patients receiving long-term warfarin therapy. PATIENTS AND METHODS: Retrospective data were reviewed for 35 consecutively hospitalized patients who received long-term warfarin therapy and ECT at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn, between January 1, 1994, and December 31, 2001. RESULTS: A total of 300 ECT treatments were administered to the 35 patients. Of 234 ECT treatments for which data were available, no ECT-related complications due to anticoagulation occurred despite increases in [blood pressure and pulse rate. One patient experienced ventricular tachycardia, resulting In transfer to a cardiology service for temporary monitoring. No other serious ECT-related adverse effects were rated. The rate of intertreatment delirium was similar to that reported in other studies. CONCLUSIONS: Electroconvulsive therapy in patients receiving long-term warfarin therapy appears to be safe. Although no major adverse effects were identified in our case series, additional prospective evaluation is warranted.
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