Effect of anatomical variability on electric field characteristics of electroconvulsive therapy and magnetic seizure therapy: a parametric modeling study.

Journal Article (Journal Article)

Electroconvulsive therapy (ECT) and magnetic seizure therapy (MST) are conventionally applied with a fixed stimulus current amplitude, which may result in differences in the neural stimulation strength and focality across patients due to interindividual anatomical variability. The objective of this study is to quantify the effect of head anatomical variability associated with age, sex, and individual differences on the induced electric field characteristics in ECT and MST. Six stimulation modalities were modeled including bilateral and right unilateral ECT, focal electrically administered seizure therapy (FEAST), and MST with circular, cap, and double-cone coils. The electric field was computed using the finite element method in a parameterized spherical head model representing the variability in the general population. Head tissue layer thicknesses and conductivities were varied to examine the impact of interindividual anatomical differences on the stimulation strength, depth, and focality. Skull conductivity most strongly affects the ECT electric field, whereas the MST electric field is independent of tissue conductivity variation in this model but is markedly affected by differences in head diameter. Focal ECT electrode configurations such as FEAST is more sensitive to anatomical variability than that of less focal paradigms such as BL ECT. In MST, anatomical variability has stronger influence on the electric field of the cap and circular coils compared to the double-cone coil, possibly due to the more superficial field of the former. The variability of the ECT and MST electric fields due to anatomical differences should be considered in the interpretation of existing studies and in efforts to improve dosing approaches for better control of stimulation strength and focality across patients, such as individualization of the current amplitude. The conventional approach to individualizing dosage by titrating the number of pulses cannot compensate for differences in the spatial extent of stimulation that result from anatomical variability.

Full Text

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • Deng, Z-D; Lisanby, SH; Peterchev, AV

Published Date

  • January 2015

Published In

Volume / Issue

  • 23 / 1

Start / End Page

  • 22 - 31

PubMed ID

  • 25055384

Pubmed Central ID

  • PMC4289667

Electronic International Standard Serial Number (EISSN)

  • 1558-0210

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.1109/TNSRE.2014.2339014


  • eng

Conference Location

  • United States