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Open access

Rubrospinal activation during asleep subthalamic nucleus deep brain stimulation: a false localizing sign. Illustrative case

Devon L. Mitchell, John Pearce, Patrick King, and Sepehr Sani

BACKGROUND

Deep brain stimulation (DBS) can be a life-changing intervention for patients with Parkinson’s disease (PD), but its success is largely dependent on precise lead placement. The subthalamic nucleus (STN) is one of the most common surgical targets of DBS, but the close anatomical and physiological resemblance of the STN to the mediocaudal red nucleus renders these landmarks difficult to distinguish.

OBSERVATIONS

We present an atypical case in which targeted localization of the STN resulted in symptoms pathognomonic of rubrospinal tract (RST) stimulation. A 79-year-old female with a 12-year history of right-hand resting tremor due to medically refractory PD presented for asleep bilateral STN-DBS surgery. Right STN intraoperative testing revealed left hand and elbow flexion contractures, initially suggestive of corticospinal tract activation, despite imaging studies demonstrating reasonable lead placement in the central dorsolateral STN. The lead was moved anteromedially near the medial border of the STN, but stimulation at this location revealed similar but more robust flexor hand and arm contractures, without any extraocular muscle involvement. Thus, activation of the RST was suspected.

LESSONS

Isolated activation of the RST is possible during STN-DBS surgery. Its identification can help avoid false localization and suboptimal lead placement.

Open access

Dorsal medullary cavernous hemangioma presenting as obstinate hiccups and its surgical treatment: illustrative case

Sumirini Puppala, Abhijit Acharya, Atmaranjan Dash, and Surjyaprakash S. Choudhury

BACKGROUND

Hiccups are characterized by involuntary, intermittent, repetitive, myoclonic, and spasmodic contractions of the diaphragm. Hiccups are termed “intractable” when they last for over 1 month.

OBSERVATIONS

A rare case of intractable hiccups due to an uncommon location of cavernous hemangioma in the dorsal medulla is illustrated. With respect to the management, surgical excision was performed, and postsurgical complete recovery was witnessed, which has been reported only in six cases worldwide to date.

LESSONS

A mechanism of the hiccups reflex arc is discussed in detail with special reference to the need for equal emphasis on evaluating central nervous system causes and peripheral etiologies for pertinent hiccups.