The author examined the use of ECT in California from 1977 to 1983, a
period during which its availability steadily declined. Approximately 1.12
persons per 10,000 population received ECT in 1977-1983, with little
variation from year to year. Most ECT was paid for with nonpublic funds by
white patients in nongovernmental facilities. The probability of receiving
ECT increased with the age of the patient. ECT was quite safe: no fractures
were reported, and the mortality rate was 0.2 deaths per 10,000 treatments.
Despite restrictive regulation and limited availability, ECT continues to
be used in California.