MADRS symptom subtypes in ECT-treated depressed patients: relationship to response and subsequent ECT

Renee Spashett, Gordon Fernie, Ian C. Reid, Isobel M. Cameron

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

5 Citations (Scopus)


Objective: This study aimed to explore the relationship of Montgomery-Asberg Depression Rating Scale (MADRS) symptom subtypes with response to electroconvulsive therapy (ECT) and subsequent ECT treatment within 12 months.

Methods: A consecutive sample of 414 patients with depression receiving ECT in the North East of Scotland was assessed by retrospective chart review. Response rate was defined as greater than or equal to 50% decrease in pretreatment total MADRS score or a posttreatment total MADRS less than or equal to 10. Principal component analyses were conducted on a sample with psychotic features (n = 124) and a sample without psychotic features (n = 290). Scores on extracted factor subscales, clinical and demographic characteristics were assessed for association with response and subsequent ECT treatment within 12 months. Where more than 1 variable was associated with response or subsequent ECT, logistic regression analysis was applied.

Results: MADRS symptom subtypes formed 3 separate factors in both samples. Logistic regression revealed older age and high "Despondency" subscale score predicted response in the nonpsychotic group. Older age alone predicted response in the group with psychotic features. Nonpsychotic patients subsequently re-treated with ECT were older than those not prescribed subsequent ECT. No association of variables emerged with subsequent ECT treatment in the group with psychotic features. Being of older age and the presence of psychotic features predicted response. Presence of psychotic features alone predicted subsequent retreatment.

Conclusions: Subscale scores of the MADRS are of limited use in predicting which patients with depression will respond to ECT, with the exception of "Despondency" subscale scores in patients without psychotic features.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)227-231
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of ECT
Issue number3
Early online date14 May 2014
Publication statusPublished - Sep 2014


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