Efficacy and safety of electroconvulsive therapy in the first trimester of pregnancy: a case of severe manic catatonia.Bipolar Disord. 2015 Aug; 17(5):567-71.BD
Electroconvulsive therapy (ECT) is an appropriate, albeit often neglected, option for managing severe or life-threatening psychiatric symptoms during pregnancy. We report on the rapid effectiveness and safety of ECT during the first trimester of pregnancy in a 28-year-old woman with severe catatonia.
Catatonic symptoms were assessed using the Catatonia Rating Scale (CRS). The patient was treated with unilateral ECT using left anterior right temporal (LART) placement. Seizure quality and duration were monitored by a two-lead electroencephalograph (EEG) and by one-lead electromyography (EMG). During each ECT session, the fetal heart rate was monitored with electrocardiogram (ECG).
After the second ECT treatment (day 13 of hospitalization), we observed remission of the catatonic symptoms, as shown by the drop in the CRS score from 22 to 0. No cognitive abnormalities were reported and no gynecological complications were detected (e.g. vaginal bleeding, abdominal pain, or uterine contraction). The patient delivered at term a healthy male neonate who presented normal growth as well as normal psychomotor development.
This case highlights the effectiveness of ECT in treating severe catatonic mania during the first 3 months of pregnancy. In addition, ECT proved to be a safe therapeutic option, since neither mother nor infant experienced any adverse event. We suggest that ECT might be considered as a valid and safe option in the therapeutic decision-making process when catatonic symptoms manifest during pregnancy.