A comparison of propofol and thiopentone use in electroconvulsive therapy

Cognitive and efficacy effects

Anna Ingram*, Isaac Schweitzer, Chee H. Ng, Michael M. Saling, Greg Savage

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

24 Citations (Scopus)


OBJECTIVE: The purpose of this study was to compare thiopentone and propofol administration for electroconvulsive therapy (ECT) in terms of associated efficacy and cognitive side effects in the immediate and medium term. METHOD: Participants comprised 30 depressed patients who were administered either propofol or thiopentone as an anesthetic agent for ECT. Clinical rating scales and a battery of neuropsychological tests were administered at baseline, after 6 treatments, 1 to 3 days after treatment end point, and at 1-month follow-up. RESULTS: Thiopentone administration was associated with advantages in efficacy and cognitive side effects compared with propofol administration. CONCLUSIONS: This study reports some serendipitous findings regarding the comparative effects of the anesthetic agents, propofol and thiopentone. Although limited by small sample size, results suggest that thiopentone has advantages for use as an anesthetic agent with ECT compared with propofol. It also highlights the need for further investigation of the impact of anesthetic agents on the cognitive side effects and efficacy of ECT.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)158-162
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of ECT
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Sep 2007


  • Anesthetic
  • Cognition
  • Depression
  • Electroconvulsive therapy
  • Memory

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