Object. The aim of this study was to examine neuropsychological outcome from unilateral posteroventral pallidotomy (PVP) in Parkinson disease while controlling for confounding factors such as test practice and disease progression.
Methods. Participants underwent baseline and 2-month follow-up assessments of cognition, quality of life, mood, and motor functioning. The surgery group (22 patients) underwent PVP (15 left, seven right) after baseline assessment. The waitlist group (14 patients) underwent PVP after follow up. At follow up, the left PVP group exhibited a decline on verbal measures of learning, fluency, working memory, and speeded color naming. The incidence of significant decline on these measures after left PVP ranged from 50 to 86%. The right PVP group did not exhibit a significant cognitive decline, but fluency did decline in 71% of patients who underwent right PVP. Participants who underwent PVP reported better bodily pain and social functioning at follow up than participants in the waitlist group. Improved bodily pain was evident for 62% of the surgery group, and social functioning improved for 19%. Surgery did not alter reported physical functioning or mood. Dyskinesia improved after surgery, but there were no improvements in “on-state” manual dexterity or handwriting.
Conclusions. Most patients who underwent left PVP exhibited declines in learning, fluency, working memory, and speeded color naming. Accounting for retesting effects altered the magnitude of these declines by up to one quarter of a standard deviation, but did not increase the breadth of postsurgical neuropsychological decline beyond that typically reported in the literature. It was found that PVP improved dyskinesia, bodily pain, and social functioning, but did not lead to improvement on other objective and self-reported measures of motor functioning.