What should I expect before electroconvulsive therapy (ECT) treatment?

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Electroconvulsive therapy (ECT) treatment is given at the hospital. Here's what happens when you arrive:
  • Talking with the healthcare team. You'll be able to ask healthcare providers any questions you have. At that time, you will sign a consent form for the ECT treatment series. You may withdraw your consent at any time during the course of treatment.
  • Getting ready. You'll change into a gown. You should also go to the bathroom at this time.
  • Removing items. You'll need to remove the items listed below (you can keep them with you during the treatment, in a purse or pocket). Valuable items should be left at home. Remove all:
  1. jewelry, glasses, or contacts
  2. dentures, bridges, or other dental equipment (tell your doctor if you have any loose teeth or other tooth problems)
  • Inserting an IV line. A healthcare provider will put an intravenous (IV) line in a vein in your arm so medication can be injected.
  • Meeting your anesthesiologist. You will be taken to the treatment room, where the anesthesiologist will talk to you about your health. You will sign a consent for the anesthesia.
  • Connecting equipment to monitor you:
  1. Electrode patches will be attached to your chest to check your heart rhythm.
  2. Electrode patches will be attached to your head to monitor your brain activity.
  3. A blood pressure cuff will be put on your arm, and a clip will be put on your finger to monitor your oxygen level.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.