Regional variation in electroconvulsive therapy use

Ross Dunne, D M McLoughlin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Although electroconvulsive therapy (ECT) is the most powerful treatment for depression, substantial variability in use has been described in Ireland. The Mental Health Commission collects usage data from approved centres but does not include home addresses or independent sector patients. Therefore, estimates of regional variation cannot be accurate, e.g. 145 (35% of total) independent sector patients were omitted from their 2008 analysis. When public and independent sector patients are combined inter-regional variation for 2008 is more than halved (chi-squared decreased from 83 to 30), with Western region contributing most to variation (chi-squared = 43). Ratio of ECT programmes to depressed admissions correlated negatively with rate for depressed admissions (r = -0.53, p = 0.01), while depressed admission numbers correlated with acute beds per area (r = 0.68, p = 0.001). Regional variation in ECT is less than previously reported; service factors probably account for much of this with smaller centres admitting severely ill patients more likely to require ECT.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)84-7
Number of pages4
JournalIrish Medical Journal
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2011


  • Catchment Area, Health/statistics & numerical data
  • Depression/epidemiology
  • Electroconvulsive Therapy/statistics & numerical data
  • Humans
  • Ireland/epidemiology


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