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Logo of aghpsycbiomed central web sitesearch.manuscript submission.see also annals of general psychiatry journal in pmc.registration.reference to the article.journal front page.
Ann Gen Hosp Psychiatry. 2004; 3: 14.
Published online 2004 August 12. doi:  10.1186/1475-2832-3-14
PMCID: PMC514898

Electroconvulsive therapy and determination of cerebral dominance


Electroconvulsive therapy (ECT) often results in a number of short- and long-time side effects including memory impairment for past and current events, which can last for several months after ECT treatment. It has been suggested that unilateral ECT (uECT) with electrodes placed over the non-dominant (typically right) hemisphere significantly reduces side effects, especially memory disturbances. It is important to note that cerebral dominance equates to speech dominance and avoiding this area of the brain also reduces speech dysfunction after ECT. Traditionally, the routine clinical determination of cerebral dominance has been through the assessment of hand, foot and eye dominance, which is an easy and inexpensive approach that, however, does not ensure accuracy. This review of literature on different methods and techniques for determination of cerebral dominance and provides evidence that functional transcranial Doppler sonography (fTCD) represents a valid and safe alternative to invasive techniques for identifying speech lateralisation. It can be concluded that fTCD, notwithstanding its costs, could be used as a standard procedure prior to uECT treatment to determine cerebral dominance, thereby further reducing cognitive side-effects of ECT and possibly making it more acceptable to both patients and clinicians.

Articles from Annals of General Hospital Psychiatry are provided here courtesy of BioMed Central