The Hospital of Magalhães Lemos is a Psychiatric Hospital that provides mental health and psychiatric care to the population of the North of Portugal. The ECT Unit was established in 2006 with the aim to do ECT to patients in the ward, in some cases to out-patients and in few cases as a maintenance treatment.


Hospital de Magalhães Lemos, ECT team

Address, website:

Rua Professor Álvaro Rodrigues, 4149-003 Porto, Portugal

Electroconvulsive Therapy Programme

The unit does ECT 3 times a week (Monday, Wednsday and Friday) in a mean of 4-6 patients each day, between 8:30 – 10:30, using a MECTA Spectrum 5000Q device.

ECT is a treatment for severe psychiatric illnesses. Present ECT techniques use sedation, muscle paralysis, ventilation with oxygen, and brief-pulse electrical stimuli that virtually eliminate the past risk of fracture and minimize transient cognitive dysfunctions. The mortality rate (about 2 deaths per 100 000 treatments) is less than that reported for normal childbirth and is associated with the anesthesia risks.

Although the effect of ECT on memory emerges in public discussions, previous research clearly demonstrates the circumscribed and mostly transient nature of the cognitive effects of ECT.

Despite its well-documented efficacy and safety, ECT is widely stigmatized as a last-resort treatment. The high incidence of chronicity and recurrence in severe psychiatric illnesses should encourage greater attention to improvements in ECT practice and to studies of its mechanism of action.

Unfortunately, the lack of experience with ECT during residency training and the failure to require such experience for specialty certification limits the ability of clinical psychiatrists to recognize patients for whom ECT may offer effective relief.


2 – 6 weeks

Periods available:

All year round


language – basic English

Travel information

  • VISA needed: check with embassy
  • Travel and health insurance needed: Yes


  • With host: maybe
  • Hospital residencies available: No
  • Hostels and Youth hostels: Yes
  • Affordable hotels: Yes

Useful websites


Amina Nazaralieva (Russia) and the Psychiatry team of HSJ (PORTO):

“Thank you for being very helpful and caring, for sharing your experience, time and ideas. Portuguese people know how to enjoy life, Indeed. Special thanks to those who made my exchange programme unforgettable”

Andreea Cazacu (Romania) with the ECT Team (H. Magalhães Lemos – PORTO):

“Dr. Jorge Mota, who is the supervisor for this exchange program, has a vast experience in ECT treatment. He was really helpful in explaining and providing needed information.”

“This has also been a great opportunity to observe the psychiatric training system in Portugal and in the same time to get in contact with its trainees. They have been really helpful and friendly throughout my stay.”

This exchange program is a socio-cultural experience and I must confess one of the best in my entire live so fare. It is an impressive country that has a lot to offer and Porto is an incredible and unique town.”

“I truly recommend this exchange project. It is an extraordinary medical experience.”

National trainee organisation website:


National coordinator:

Mariana Lázaro

Local coordinator:

Fábio Silva