Electroconvulsive therapy causes a generalized tonic clonic seizure by electrical stimulation of the brain. Cerebral blood flow and metabolism increase dramatically. From a cardiovascular standpoint, there is an initial parasympathetic surge (primarily during the electrical stimulation) with severe bradycardia or asystole. This is followed by a sympathetic surge causing hypertension and tachycardia.
- Mayo C, Kaye AD, Conrad E, Baluch A, Frost E. Update on anesthesia considerations for electroconvulsive therapy. Middle East J Anaesthesiol. 2010 Feb; 20(4):493-8. Review. PubMed PMID: 20394244.