• Electroconvulsive Therapy (ECT)

  • Questions regarding ECT or to make a referral, please contact us directly at 303-715-7765

    Electroconvulsive Therapy (ECT) can be a very effective treatment for patients that are severely depressed, suicidal or have a bipolar disorder with depression or mania. At Porter Adventist Hospital, we believe in whole person care that addresses each person's physical, mental, emotional and spiritual well-being. It is this legacy of caring that provides the foundation of our comprehensive mental health services, including ECT for adults 19 years of age and older. It can be a life-saving treatment for people who are:

    • Unresponsive to other forms of treatment
    • Pose an immediate danger to themselves or others
    • Not good candidates for antidepressants or mood stabilizer medication

    The decision to pursue ECT as a treatment option is one that typically comes after much discussion and exploration of other therapies. When you choose Porter for your patient's ECT needs, you will be working with an organization that has a highly qualified staff and a reputation for compassion, excellence, and patient education.

    Referring providers can review the criteria for eligibility 

    What can I expect from ECT at Porter?

    At Porter Adventist Hospital ECT patients receive:

    • The support of an acute care hospital with on-call specialists such as cardiologists and neurologists.
    • Pre-ECT education for patients and their families conducted by a registered nurse from the ECT department.
    • Coordination of all pre-ECT requirements including insurance authorization and utilization review.
    • Completion of the Beck Depression Inventory (BDI) by the patient before and after the ECT series to monitor progress.
    • Follow-up calls from a registered nurse to the patient after the ECT treatments.
    • An unparalleled reputation in the community for compassion and care.

    Outpatient ECT Services

    Outpatient ECT services are appropriate for patients who have at least one reliable support person. In particular, the patient must have:

    • The ability to care for self at home.
    • The ability to comply with the NPO restrictions prior to all treatments.
    • Someone who can drive the patient to and from the hospital for treatment.
    • A reliable adult who will stay with the patient until short-term memory is regained (if profound memory loss occurs during a treatment).
    • No other medical complications or conditions that are contraindicated for this procedure.

    Inpatient ECT Services

    Although ECT is often performed as an outpatient procedure, patients are candidates for an inpatient ECT series in some circumstances. These include situations in which the patient:

    • Is unable to complete the treatments due to safety issues
    • Has a concurrent medical condition or complication that would make outpatient treatment unsafe

    How is ECT performed?

    ECT is performed under general anesthesia by an anesthesiologist and a psychiatrist. The series is done on a Monday, Wednesday and Friday rotation for an average of 8-12 treatments. Subsequent maintenance ECT may be done weekly or monthly, based upon the particular needs of a patient.

    Watch this video for more information »

    What are the criteria to receive ECT services at Porter?

    Before a patient is eligible for ECT services, two licensed psychiatrists must each render separate opinions that ECT would benefit the patient. This is mandatory under Colorado law.

    If you believe your patient is a candidate for ECT, a qualified team of ECT psychiatrists at Porter Adventist Hospital is available to evaluate your patient for a second opinion. If you would like a Porter Adventist Hospital psychiatrist to provide a consultation and subsequent ECT, please follow these steps:

    • Complete the First Opinion Letter that contains the patient's psychiatric and medical history, current and historical medications, Axis I-V diagnoses and your recommendations for an ECT series. We must have that letter before we can see the patient and render a second opinion.
    • Provide the name and manufacturer's telephone number for any indwelling device the patient has, such as a pacemaker.
    • Have available any medical consultation reports already completed that may affect the ECT, such as neurology or cardiology consults.
    • Provide your voicemail number so that we may easily contact you during your patient's ECT series.
    • Have available any previous ECT records if they were conducted at a hospital other than Porter Adventist Hospital.

    We strongly encourage you continue to see your patient during the ECT series so you may evaluate its effectiveness.

    Send the completed First Opinion Letter to the consulting psychiatrist:

    Porter Adventist Hospital
    2525 S Downing St, 1 South
    Denver, CO 80210

    Phone: 303-715-7765
    Fax: 303-649-7147

    Additional Resources

    If you'd like to know more about ECT, visit the following websites:

    Download our ECT Fact Sheet


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