ElectroConvulsive therapy Cognitive Assessment (ECCA) tool: A new instrument to monitor cognitive function in patients undergoing ECT

The National Network of Depression Centers ECT Task Group

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


Background: Electroconvulsive therapy (ECT) is a well-established treatment for severe depression but may result in adverse cognitive effects. Available cognitive screening instruments are nonspecific to the cognitive deficits associated with ECT. An ECT-cognitive assessment tool which can be easily administered was developed and validated in a clinical setting. Methods: One hundred and thirty-six participants were enrolled. The ElectroConvulsive therapy Cognitive Assessment (ECCA) and the Montreal Cognitive Assessment (MoCA) were administered prospectively to 55 participants with major depressive disorder (MDD) undergoing ECT at three time points: pre-treatment, before the sixth treatment and one-week post-treatment. The psychometric properties of the total and domain scores were evaluated at all three time points. Forty demographically comparable participants with MDD who did not receive ECT, and 41 healthy, age-matched controls were evaluated at a single time point. Results: ECCA and MoCA scores were not statistically different at baseline. Prior to the sixth and final ECT session, total ECCA scores were significantly lower than the MoCA total scores. The ECCA domains of subjective memory, informant-assessed memory, attention, autobiographical memory and delayed verbal recall were significantly lower post-ECT compared to pre-ECT. Limitations: The ECCA was compared only to the MoCA rather than to a more comprehensive neuropsychological testing. This limitation reflected the real-life clinical burden of performing full neuropsychological testing at three time points during the treatment course. Conclusions: The ECCA is a brief, reliable, bedside cognitive screening assessment tool that may be useful to monitor cognitive function in patients treated with ECT. The test can be downloaded from fuquacenter.org/ecca.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)36-42
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Affective Disorders
StatePublished - May 15 2020


  • Assessment
  • Cognitive impairment
  • Depression
  • Electroconvulsive Therapy
  • Memory

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Psychology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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