McLean Hospital – 115 Mill Street, Belmont, MA 02478
Before undergoing the procedure, medical clearance is necessary to make sure there are no medical conditions that might interfere with ECT treatment. Some patients may experience changes in heart rate or blood pressure during the procedure, but these changes are usually short-lived and easily treated with medication. More serious problems are rare, but our staff is always prepared to give appropriate medical care as needed.
Memory loss is the most common side effect of ECT. Patients may experience some mild short-term memory loss and forgetfulness during the treatment. This side effect, however, usually ends shortly after the treatment course has ended.
Less frequently, patients have lingering memory loss of events that happened shortly before treatment. The memory loss is usually not significant, but we work hard to limit this side effect.
Other possible side effects are headache, muscle aches, nausea, and vomiting. Most people who have ECT treatment report very few side effects, and most are minor and easily treated.