Atlas fracture after electroconvulsive therapy


Background: Since the first-time electroconvulsive therapy was performed in 1938, it remains to this day as one of the most effective forms of treatment for patients with major depression and other psychiatric conditions. It works by a controlled electric current passed through the scalp and selected parts of the brain to induce a grand mal seizure. Due to its mechanism of action, the possibility of developing a physical trauma although rare, especially if done under an adequate modified form, is still possible.

Case: A young male presented to our Emergency Department after his routine electroconvulsive therapy with neck pain. Imaging of the neck showed fracture of the Atlas bone. Patient was treated conservatively.

Conclusion: Electroconvulsive therapy is one of the safe and common treatment modalities used for mental health issues around the world. However, injuries such as fractures have been reported following the procedure. As per our literature review, this is the first instance of Atlas fracture reported after electroconvulsive therapy worldwide.


Atlas, Spine, Fracture, Electroconvulsive therapy (ECT)

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