Key Differences Between rTMS and Electroconvulsive Therapy (ECT) – Dr. Martijn Arns

Posted on February 9, 2019

Dr Sanil Rege, Consultant Psychiatrist and Founder of Psych Scene and Psych Scene Hub speaks to Dr. Martijn Arns, Chief Scientific Adviser, neuroCare Group; Founding Director & Senior Researcher at Research Institute Brainclinics.

Author Quote :

I think the positioning of rTMS at this point in time is a kind of stage before people consider ECT. I think that the side effect profile is very benign, and the only side effects that people might report are scalp discomfort, and headache, because we are stimulating the muscle tissue as well, so it’s really muscle tissue pain that people might experience. With repeated sessions of stimulation it disappears and goes away.

Take Home Messages : 

  1. ECT is a very effective treatment in severe melancholic depression with agitative or psychotic features, severe suicidal ideation, catatonia or if patient is not eating or drinking due to depression – side effects include memory issues and concentration problems.
  2. The theoretical risk of seizure with rTMS is significantly lower than the risk of a seizure with an SSRI – overall, the side effects associated with rTMS are very manageable
  3. Response and remission rates for rTMS with personalised psychotherapy as a combined treatment in treatment-resistant depression, are higher than for rTMS as a monotherapy.

Quiz :


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