On februari 22, I was invited by Berta Fereira (a Portugese psychiatrist I met at the APA in Tornonto), to the first national conference on ECT in Portugal. The conference took place at the Museum of Electricity in Belèm, Lisbon, very close to the Monasterio Jerónimo (photo). About 240 participants had registered and about 200 turned up. I gave a lecture on ECT in Europe and the European Forum for ECT (EFFECT), and Chris Freeman from Edingburg talked about the 'quality-control' of ECT units in the UK (ECTAS). The other speakers were all Portugese practioners, talking about the practice of ECT in their new units, where the standards of practice appear to be high. It was shown that in Portugal, in the past few years, a total of 6 ECT-units became active, 3 of which are situated in the Lisbon area (Lisbon, Amadora). All these units performed an estimate of 500-1200 treatment sessions in 2007. This corresponds to an ECT-rate of 0.5-1.2/10.000 inhabitants. At least one new unit (Azores) will start activities in 2008. As in other European countries, the main indication for ECT is medication resistant depression, the bilateral electrodeposition is used most frequently, as is the hypnotic propofol (Sienaert & van den Broek, 2008). During the meeting, a Portugese association for ECT (the Sociedade Portuguesa de Electroconvulsivoterapia) was established, with António Gamito as president.
Sienaert & Van den Broek (2008). Electroconvulsive therapy in continental Western Europe: a literature review. In: Swartz C. (Ed.) Electroconvulsive Therapy and Neuromodulation. Cambridge University Press