✓ The authors report the clinicopathological findings in a patient in whom levodopa-responsive parkinsonism developed at 45 years of age. The patient experienced asymmetrical onset of symptoms, sustained benefit from levodopa, and motor fluctuations and dyskinesias, but there were no prominent autonomic, cerebellar, or pyramidal signs. He was diagnosed clinically with Parkinson disease (PD) and underwent bilateral subthalamic nucleus deep brain stimulation (DBS) surgery 9 years after symptom onset. He did not respond to stimulation or medication postoperatively, however, and died 12 weeks after surgery of repeated aspiration pneumonias. Postmortem examination revealed neuron loss in the substantia nigra and basal ganglia, and numerous α-synuclein—positive glial cytoplasmic inclusions in the subcortical nuclei, cerebellum, and brainstem, findings that established a neuropathological diagnosis of multiple system atrophy (MSA). Furthermore, there was an atypical and robust inflammatory reaction, as well as numerous glial cytoplasmic inclusions surrounding both DBS electrode termination sites. The authors speculate that the presence of α-synuclein in the striatum, combined with the inflammation surrounding the electrodes, contributed to the ineffectiveness of stimulation and dopaminergic medications postoperatively. This case demonstrates the ineffectiveness of DBS in MSA, even when the patient is responsive to levodopa, and emphasizes the need for diagnostic modalities that can be used to distinguish PD from MSA and other parkinsonian syndromes in which the levodopa response pattern is typical of PD.
Kelvin L. Chou, Mark S. Forman, John Q. Trojanowski, Howard I. Hurtig, and Gordon H. Baltuch
Atsushi Umemura, Jurg L. Jaggi, Carol A. Dolinskas, Matthew B. Stern, and Gordon H. Baltuch
✓ Generalized dystonia is one of the most disabling movement disorders. Ablative stereotactic surgery such as pallidotomy has been performed for medically refractory dystonia. Recently, deep brain stimulation (DBS) has appeared as an alternative to ablative procedures. Nevertheless, there have been few published reports detailing improvement in dystonia with DBS.
This 36-year-old man with Hallervorden—Spatz syndrome suffered from intractable primary generalized dystonia for 28 years. He was completely dependent for activities of daily living and wheelchair bound because of continuous severe dystonic movements in the face, tongue, neck, trunk, and upper and lower extremities while at rest. The Burke-Fahn-Marsden (BFM) Dystonia Rating Scale score was 112 (maximum 120 points). Bilateral DBS of the globus pallidus internus was performed and resulted in marked improvement in motor functioning and dystonic symptoms with a significant reduction in disability. The BFM score improved to 22.5 points (80% improvement) at 3 months postsurgery and the patient's dystonia was still well suppressed 1 year after surgery.
Bilateral pallidal stimulation is an effective and safe treatment for intractable generalized dystonia in Hallervorden—Spatz syndrome, even if the disability is severe and longstanding.
Frederick L. Hitti, Kerry A. Vaughan, Ashwin G. Ramayya, Brendan J. McShane, and Gordon H. Baltuch
Deep brain stimulation (DBS) has revolutionized the treatment of neurological disease, but its therapeutic efficacy is limited by the lifetime of the implantable pulse generator (IPG) batteries. At the end of the battery life, IPG replacement surgery is required. New IPGs with rechargeable batteries (RC-IPGs) have recently been introduced and allow for decreased reoperation rates for IPG replacements. The authors aimed to examine the merits and limitations of these devices.
The authors reviewed the medical records of patients who underwent DBS implantation at their institution. RC-IPGs were placed either during initial DBS implantation or during an IPG change. A cost analysis was performed that compared RC-IPGs with standard IPGs, and telephone patient surveys were conducted to assess patient satisfaction.
The authors identified 206 consecutive patients from 2011 to 2016 who underwent RC-IPG placement (mean age 61 years; 67 women, 33%). Parkinson’s disease was the most common indication for DBS (n = 144, 70%), followed by essential tremor (n = 41, 20%), dystonia (n = 13, 6%), depression (n = 5, 2%), multiple sclerosis tremor (n = 2, 1%), and epilepsy (n = 1, 0.5%). DBS leads were typically placed bilaterally (n = 192, 93%) and targeted the subthalamic nucleus (n = 136, 66%), ventral intermediate nucleus of the thalamus (n = 43, 21%), internal globus pallidus (n = 21, 10%), ventral striatum (n = 5, 2%), or anterior nucleus of the thalamus (n = 1, 0.5%). RC-IPGs were inserted at initial DBS implantation in 123 patients (60%), while 83 patients (40%) were converted to RC-IPGs during an IPG replacement surgery. The authors found that RC-IPG implantation resulted in $60,900 of cost savings over the course of 9 years. Furthermore, patient satisfaction was high with RC-IPG implantation. Overall, 87.3% of patients who responded to the survey were satisfied with their device, and only 6.7% found the rechargeable component difficult to use. In patients who were switched from a standard IPG to RC-IPG, the majority who responded (70.3%) preferred the rechargeable IPG.
RC-IPGs can provide DBS patients with long-term therapeutic benefit while minimizing the need for battery replacement surgery. The authors have implanted rechargeable stimulators in 206 patients undergoing DBS surgery, and here they demonstrate the cost-effectiveness and high patient satisfaction associated with this procedure.
Frederick L. Hitti, Ashwin G. Ramayya, Brendan J. McShane, Andrew I. Yang, Kerry A. Vaughan, and Gordon H. Baltuch
Deep brain stimulation (DBS) is an effective treatment for several movement disorders, including Parkinson’s disease (PD). While this treatment has been available for decades, studies on long-term patient outcomes have been limited. Here, the authors examined survival and long-term outcomes of PD patients treated with DBS.
The authors conducted a retrospective analysis using medical records of their patients to identify the first 400 consecutive patients who underwent DBS implantation at their institution from 1999 to 2007. The medical record was used to obtain baseline demographics and neurological status. The authors performed survival analyses using Kaplan-Meier estimation and multivariate regression using Cox proportional hazards modeling. Telephone surveys were used to determine long-term outcomes.
Demographics for the cohort of patients with PD (n = 320) were as follows: mean age of 61 years, 70% male, 27% of patients had at least 1 medical comorbidity (coronary artery disease, congestive heart failure, diabetes mellitus, atrial fibrillation, or deep vein thrombosis). Kaplan-Meier survival analysis on a subset of patients with at least 10 years of follow-up (n = 200) revealed a survival probability of 51% (mean age at death 73 years). Using multivariate regression, the authors found that age at implantation (HR 1.02, p = 0.01) and male sex (HR 1.42, p = 0.02) were predictive of reduced survival. Number of medical comorbidities was not significantly associated with survival (p > 0.5). Telephone surveys were completed by 40 surviving patients (mean age 55.1 ± 6.4 years, 72.5% male, 95% subthalamic nucleus DBS, mean follow-up 13.0 ± 1.7 years). Tremor responded best to DBS (72.5% of patients improved), while other motor symptoms remained stable. Ability to conduct activities of daily living (ADLs) remained stable (dressing, 78% of patients; running errands, 52.5% of patients) or worsened (preparing meals, 50% of patients). Patient satisfaction, however, remained high (92.5% happy with DBS, 95% would recommend DBS, and 75% felt it provided symptom control).
DBS for PD is associated with a 10-year survival rate of 51%. Survey data suggest that while DBS does not halt disease progression in PD, it provides durable symptomatic relief and allows many individuals to maintain ADLs over long-term follow-up greater than 10 years. Furthermore, patient satisfaction with DBS remains high at long-term follow-up.
Gordon H. Baltuch, Jean-Pierre Farmer, Kathleen Meagher-Villemure, Augustin M. O'Gorman, and José L. Montes
✓ The authors present the case of a 10-year-old boy admitted for evaluation of a generalized seizure and a history of headaches. Computerized tomography (CT) and gadolinium-enhanced magnetic resonance (MR) imaging demonstrated a large nonhomogeneous contrast-enhancing mass of the left frontal lobe, with a large cystic component. Cerebral angiography revealed the lesion to be highly vascular and fed entirely by the internal carotid artery system. The patient underwent craniotomy and the lesion was completely removed. Neuropathological study revealed that the tumor was a ganglioglioma. On review of the literature, it was found that gangliogliomas often present in the second and third decade, are known to have cystic components, and are contrast-enhancing on CT and MR imaging; however, they are classically known to be avascular on angiography. This case of a markedly vascular ganglioglioma emphasizes that these tumors should be included in the differential diagnosis of vascular supratentorial lesions.
Uzma Samadani, Atsushi Umemura, Jurg L. Jaggi, Amy Colcher, Eric L. Zager, and Gordon H. Baltuch
✓ Thalamic deep brain stimulation (DBS) has been demonstrated to be effective for the treatment of parkinsonian or essential tremor. To date, however, few data exist to support the application of this method to treat midbrain tremor.
A 24-year-old right-handed man underwent radiosurgery and subsequent resection of a recurrently hemorrhaging cavernous angioma located in the left side of the midbrain. The surgery exacerbated severe choreoathetotic resting and action tremors of his right extremities and trunk. The patient underwent placement of a deep brain stimulator into the left ventral intermediate nucleus of the thalamus (Vim). Postoperatively, decreased truncal ataxia and right-sided choreoathetotic tremor were demonstrated, with a 57% increase in dexterity as measured by task testing.
The authors demonstrate that DBS can be an effective treatment modality for disabling tremor after resection of a midbrain cavernous angioma.
Jason M. Schwalb, Howard A. Riina, Brett Skolnick, Jurg L. Jaggi, Tanya Simuni, and Gordon H. Baltuch
✓ The treatment of essential tremor with thalamic deep brain stimulation (DBS) is considered to be more effective and to cause less morbidity than treatment with thalamotomy. Nonetheless, implantation of an indwelling electrode, connectors, and a generator is associated with specific types of morbidity. The authors describe three patients who required revision of their DBS systems due to lead breakage. The connector between the DBS electrode and the extension wire, which connects to the subclavicular pulse generator, was originally placed subcutaneously in the cervical region to decrease the risk of erosion through the scalp and to improve cosmesis. Three patients presented with fractured DBS electrodes that were located in the cervical region near the connector, necessitating reoperation with stereotactic retargeting and placement of a new intracranial electrode. At reoperation, the connectors were placed subgaleally over the parietal region.
Management of these cases has led to modifications in the operative procedure designed to improve the durability of DBS systems. The authors recommend that surgeons avoid placing the connection between the DBS electrode and the extension wire in the cervical region because patient movement can cause microfractures in the electrode. Such microfractures require intracranial revision, which may be associated with a higher risk of morbidity than the initial operation. The authors also recommend considering prophylactic relocation of the connectors from the cervical area to the subgaleal parietal region to decrease the risk of future DBS electrode fracture, which would necessitate a more lengthy procedure to revise the intracranial electrode.
Albert E. Telfeian, John A. Boockvar, Tanya Simuni, Jurg Jaggi, Brett Skolnick, and Gordon H. Baltuch
✓ Deep brain stimulation (DBS) of the ventralis intermedius nucleus (Vim) is a safe and effective treatment for essential tremor. Bipolar disorder and essential tremor had each been reported to occur in association with Klinefelter syndrome but the three diseases have been reported to occur together in only one patient. The genetic basis and natural history of these disorders are not completely understood and may be related rather than coincidental. The authors report on a 23-year-old man with Klinefelter syndrome (47,XXY) and bipolar disorder who was treated successfully with unilateral DBS of the thalamic Vim for essential tremor.
Ioannis Mavridis and Sophia Anagnostopoulou
Daniel R. Kramer, Casey H. Halpern, Dana L. Buonacore, Kathryn R. McGill, Howard I. Hurtig, Jurg L. Jaggi, and Gordon H. Baltuch
Deep brain stimulation (DBS) is the treatment of choice for otherwise healthy patients with advanced Parkinson disease who are suffering from disabling dyskinesias and motor fluctuations related to dopaminergic therapy. As DBS is an elective procedure, it is essential to minimize the risk of morbidity. Further, precision in targeting deep brain structures is critical to optimize efficacy in controlling motor features. The authors have already established an operational checklist in an effort to minimize errors made during DBS surgery. Here, they set out to standardize a strict, step-by-step approach to the DBS surgery used at their institution, including preoperative evaluation, the day of surgery, and the postoperative course. They provide careful instruction on Leksell frame assembly and placement as well as the determination of indirect coordinates derived from MR images used to target deep brain structures. Detailed descriptions of the operative procedure are provided, outlining placement of the stereotactic arc as well as determination of the appropriate bur hole location, lead placement using electrophysiology, and placement of the internal pulse generator. The authors also include their approach to preventing postoperative morbidity. They believe that a strategic, step-by-step approach to DBS surgery combined with a standardized checklist will help to minimize operating room mistakes that can compromise targeting and increase the risk of complication.