At the 27th European Congress of Psychiatry, held recently in Warsaw, Poland, Brigham and Women’s Faulkner Hospital’s Chief of Psychiatry Dr. John Fromson presented “Recommendations for the Use of ECT in Pregnancy: Literature Review and Proposed Clinical Protocol.”
The project, spearheaded by inpatient psychiatrist Dr. Marcela Almeida and resident Dr. Heather Burrell Ward, outlines the risks associated with the use of electroconvulsive therapy (ECT) to both pregnant women and their fetuses and provides evidence-based guidelines for the safe and effective treatment of pregnant women with severe depression, high suicide risk, catatonia, medication-resistant illness, psychotic agitation, severe physical decline and other life-threatening conditions using ECT.
Based on the literature review done by the team here at BWFH, Dr. Fromson says, “For women who have not responded to other treatments, this is a very safe procedure.”
The work defines steps that should be taken to mitigate risk to both the mother and her unborn child. Dr. Fromson says the hope is that these guidelines can be used as a teaching tool to enhance the knowledge, skill and attitude of hospital staff in using ECT in this unique patient population.
For Dr. Fromson, the opportunity to share work being done here at BWFH on the international stage was very special. “It was a very meaningful opportunity to present Brigham and Women’s Faulkner Hospital findings to a global audience,” he says. “Attendees from Russia, Denmark, Great Britain and France were all asking questions. I felt so proud of the fact that our work was being recognized at an international venue.”
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