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ECT as a treatment alternative for patients with symptoms of neuroleptic malignant syndrome.

The use of ECT as a treatment alternative in a clinical situation in which it is difficult to determine whether the patient is suffering from neuroleptic malignant syndrome (NMS) or an evolving catatonic state is investigated. Fourteen cases from the literature are reviewed and 3 new cases are presented. In 6 cases, ECT was rapidly effective in treating symptoms of NMS, but cardiac arrhythmias were reported in 4 cases. There was no evidence of malignant hyperthermia (MH) in patients receiving succinylcholine, suggesting that an association between NMS and MH may not be clinically relevant in patients being treated with ECT.

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