Bilateral subthalamic nucleus deep brain stimulation for dopa-responsive dystonia in a 6-year-old child

Case report

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Tyrosine hydroxylase (TH) deficiency is a rare autosomal recessive metabolic disease that results in the decreased production of catecholamines. Standard treatment relies on combinations of levodopa and carbidopa, anticholinergic agents, serotonergic agonists, and monamine oxidase B inhibitors. Unfortunately, severely affected children often require escalating doses of medication and suffer from dyskinesias as well as significant on/off symptomatology.

The authors present a case of medically intractable dopa-responsive dystonia in a 6-year-old boy whose condition significantly improved with bilateral subthalamic nucleus deep brain stimulation. This case is unique in its novel approach to tyrosine hydroxylase deficiency and the young age of the patient.

Abbreviations used in this paper: DBS = deep brain stimulation; DRD = dopa-responsive dystonia; MER = microelectrode recording; STN = subthalamic nucleus; TH = tyrosine hydroxylase.

Article Information

Address correspondence to: Elizabeth C. Tyler-Kabara, M.D., Ph.D., Department of Neurological Surgery, Division of Pediatric Neurosurgery, 4401 Penn Avenue, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania 15224. email:

© AANS, except where prohibited by US copyright law.





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