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Three patients with intractable thalamic pain unresponsive to a range of previous treatments received a course of six bilateral electroconvulsive therapy (ECT) treatments over 2 weeks. There was no evidence of any improvement in the intensity of the pain, pain relief or mood as measured on visual analogue scales and with standard measures. Propofol was used as the anaesthetic induction agent. Two patients showed wide changes in blood pressure during ECT but all three patients showed prompt recovery. In the light of the negative findings of this study and those of a previous study of the use of unilateral ECT in similar patients it is concluded that ECT is not an effective treatment for post-stroke thalamic pain.

Original publication




Journal article



Publication Date





129 - 131


Adult, Blood Pressure, Brain Diseases, Electroconvulsive Therapy, Humans, Male, Pain Measurement, Pain, Intractable, Pilot Projects, Thalamus