Magnetic Seizure Therapy – Definition, Procedure

Treatment resistant depression is usually treated by performing electroconvulsive therapy (ECT) in patients with severe depression. However there are certain side effects associated with electric shocks in ECT.

Magnetic Seizure Therapy is an electrical brain stimulation therapy that has emerged as a safer alternative to ECT.

During MST, the seizures are induced by using magnetic fields instead of using electric shocks as in ECT. It involves rapidly alternating strong magnetic fields that allows greater control of intra-cerebral current intensity.

Studies done with MST have proved that it is an effective anti depressive treatment without any side effects. Moreover it promises faster recovery of orientation than ECT.

Magnetic Seizure Therapy Procedure

The magnetic seizure therapy is performed in similar manner as regular ECT treatment. It is a relatively a safe procedure where Magnetic seizures are elicited under general anaesthesia.

  • Patient is administered with general anaesthesia before the procedure
  • During anaesthesia, patient is oxygenated with 100 % oxygen
  • Therapist assess the motor activity of the right foot for tracking the duration of motor seizures
  • An EEG device is used for obtaining the bilateral frontal-mastoid EEG recordings.
  • A magnetic stimulator is used for delivering the treatments by employing highly efficient “Twin Coil”
  • Parameters of stimulation are as follows

Stimulation repetition rate: 100 pps

Number of pulses: 100-600 (duration 1-6s)

Stimulation amplitude: 100%

Patients are administered with two MST sessions every week. MST has proven to offer better acute side effect profile than ECT.

The magnetic fields induced by MST reaches the targeted areas of brain without any hindrance. Moreover, it allows better seizure initiation and improved control over the site of stimulation than ECT.

MST was introduced for minimizing the cognitive side effects of ECT. MST does so by inducing more focal seizure in the area of prefrontal cortex.

Thus, it is more effective in inducing seizures in targeted area without involving other region of brain including hippocampus and deep brain structures.