Parkinson Disease - Top 25

September 2010, Volume 113, Issue 3

Parkinson Disease: Top 25 Cited Articles

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Joseph Ghika, Florence Ghika-Schmid, Heinz Fankhauser, Gil Assal, François Vingerhoets, Alberto Albanese, Julien Bogousslavsky and Jacques Favre

✓ The authors report the underestimated cognitive, mood, and behavioral complications in patients who have undergone bilateral contemporaneous pallidotomy, as seen in their early experience with functional neurosurgery for Parkinson's disease (PD) that is accompanied by severe motor fluctuations before pallidal stimulation.

Four patients, not suffering from dementia, with advanced (Hoehn and Yahr Stages III–IV), medically untreatable PD featuring severe “on—off” fluctuations underwent bilateral contemporaneous posteroventral pallidotomy (PVP). All patients were evaluated according to the Core Assessment Program for Intracerebral Transplantations (CAPIT) protocol without positron emission tomography scans but with additional neuropsychological cognitive, mood, and behavior testing.

For the first 3 to 6 months postoperatively, all patients showed a mean improvement of motor scores on the Unified Parkinson's Disease Rating Scale (UPDRS), in the best “on” (21%) and worst “off (40%) UPDRS III motor subscale, a mean 30% improvement in the UPDRS II activities of daily living (ADL) subscore, and 60% on the UPDRS IV complications of treatment subscale. Dyskinesia disappeared almost completely, and the mean daily duration of the off time was reduced by an average of 60%. Despite these good results in the CAPIT scores, one patient experienced a partially regressive corticobulbar syndrome with dysphagia, dysarthria, and increased drooling. No emotional lability was found in this patient, but he did demonstrate severe bilateral postoperative pretarsal blepharospasm (apraxia of eyelid opening), which interfered with walking and which required treatment with high-dose subcutaneous injections of botulinum toxin. No patient showed visual field defects or hemiparesis, but postoperative depression, changes in personality, behavior, and executive functions were seen in two individuals. Postoperative abulia was reported by the family of one patient, who lost his preoperative aggressiveness and drive in terms of ADL, speech, business, family life, and hobbies, and became more sleepy and fatigued. One patient reported postoperative mental automatisms, such as compulsive mental counting, and circular thoughts and reasoning during off phases; postoperative depression was found in two patients. However, none of the patients demonstrated these symptoms during intraoperative microelectrode stimulation. These findings are compatible with previous reports on bilateral pallidal lesions. A progressive lowering of UPDRS subscores was seen after 12 months, consistent with the progression of the disease.

Bilateral simultaneous pallidotomy may be followed by emotional, behavioral, and cognitive deficits such as depression, obsessive—compulsive disorders, and loss of psychic autoactivation—abulia, as well as disabling corticobulbar dysfunction and apraxia of eyelid opening, in addition to previously described motor and visual field deficits, which make this surgery undesirable even though significant improvement in motor deficits can be achieved.

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Joseph Ghika, Jean-Guy Villemure, Heinz Fankhauser, Jacques Favre, Gil Assal and Florence Ghika-Schmid

Object. The aim of this study was to evaluate the long-term safety and efficacy of bilateral contemporaneous deep brain stimulation (DBS) in patients who have levodopa-responsive parkinsonism with untreatable motor fluctuations. Bilateral pallidotomy carries a high risk of corticobulbar and cognitive dysfunction. Deep brain stimulation offers new alternatives with major advantages such as reversibility of effects, minimal permanent lesions, and adaptability to individual needs, changes in medication, side effects, and evolution of the disease.

Methods. Patients in whom levodopa-responsive parkinsonism with untreatable severe motor fluctuations has been clinically diagnosed underwent bilateral pallidal magnetic resonance image—guided electrode implantation while receiving a local anesthetic. Pre- and postoperative evaluations at 3-month intervals included Unified Parkinson's Disease Rating Scale (UPDRS) scoring, Hoehn and Yahr staging, 24-hour self-assessments, and neuropsychological examinations.

Six patients with a mean age of 55 years (mean 42–67 years), a mean duration of disease of 15.5 years (range 12–21 years), a mean “on/off” Hoehn and Yahr stage score of 3/4.2 (range 3–5), and a mean “off” time of 40% (range 20–50%) underwent bilateral contemporaneous pallidal DBS, with a minimum follow-up period lasting 24 months (range 24–30 months). The mean dose of levodopa in these patients could not be changed significantly after the procedure and pergolide was added after 12 months in five patients because of recurring fluctuations despite adjustments in stimulation parameters. All but two patients had no fluctuations until 9 months. Two of the patients reported barely perceptible fluctuations at 12 months and two at 15 months; however, two patients remain without fluctuations at 2 years. The mean improvements in the UPDRS motor score in the off time and the activities of daily living (ADL) score were more than 50%; the mean off time decreased from 40 to 10%, and the mean dyskinesia and complication of treatment scores were reduced to one-third until pergolide was introduced at 12 months. No significant improvement in “on” scores was observed. A slight worsening after 1 year was observed and three patients developed levodopa- and stimulation-resistant gait ignition failure and minimal fluctuations at 1 year. Side effects, which were controlled by modulation of stimulation, included dysarthria, dystonia, and confusion.

Conclusions. Bilateral pallidal DBS is safe and efficient in patients who have levodopa-responsive parkinsonism with severe fluctuations. Major improvements in motor score, ADL score, and off time persisted beyond 2 years after the operation, but signs of decreased efficacy started to be seen after 12 months.