Kazutaka Kobayashi, Yoichi Katayama, Hideki Oshima, Mitsuru Watanabe, Koichiro Sumi, Toshiki Obuchi, Chikashi Fukaya and Takamitsu Yamamoto
Holmes' tremor (HT) is generally considered to be a symptomatic tremor associated with lesions of the cerebellum, midbrain, or thalamus. Deep brain stimulation (DBS) therapy for essential tremor and parkinsonian tremor has proved quite successful. In contrast, surgical treatment outcomes for HT have often been disappointing. The use of 2 ipsilateral DBS electrodes implanted in parallel within the thalamus for severe essential tremor has been reported. Since dual-lead stimulation within a single target can cover a wider area than single-lead stimulation, it produces greater effects. On the other hand, DBS of the subthalamic area (SA) was recently reported to be effective for refractory tremor.
The authors implanted 2 DBS electrodes (one at the nucleus ventralis oralis/nucleus ventralis intermedius and the other at the SA) in 4 patients with HT. For more than 2 years after implantation, each patient's tremor was evaluated using a tremor rating scale under the following 4 conditions of stimulation: “on” for both thalamus and SA DBS; “off” for both thalamus and SA DBS; “on” for thalamus and “off” for SA DBS; and “on” for SA and “off” for thalamus DBS.
The tremor in all patients was improved for more than 2 years (mean 25.8 ± 3.5 months). Stimulation with 2 electrodes exerted greater effect on the tremor than did 1-electrode stimulation. Interestingly, in all patients progressive effects were observed, and in one patient treated with DBS for 1 year, tremor did not appear even while stimulation was temporarily switched off, suggesting irreversible improvement effects.
The presence of both resting and intentional/action tremor implies combined destruction of the pallidothalamic and cerebellothalamic pathways in HT. A larger stimulation area may thus be required for HT patients. Multitarget, dual-lead stimulation permits coverage of the wide area needed to suppress the tremor without adverse effects of stimulation. Some reorganization of the neural network may be involved in the development of HT because the tremor appears several months after the primary insult. The mechanism underlying the absence of tremor while stimulation was temporarily off remains unclear, but the DBS may have normalized the abnormal neural network.
The authors successfully treated patients with severe HT by using dual-electrode DBS over a long period. Such DBS may offer an effective and safe treatment modality for intractable HT.
Hideki Oshima, Yoichi Katayama, Takashi Morishita, Koichiro Sumi, Toshiharu Otaka, Kazutaka Kobayashi, Yutaka Suzuki, Chikashi Fukaya and Takamitsu Yamamoto
The objective of this study was to evaluate the efficacy of chronic subthalamic nucleus (STN) stimulation for alleviating pain related to Parkinson disease (PD).
Among 163 consecutive patients undergoing STN stimulation, 69 were identified as experiencing pain preoperatively that was related to their PD. All 69 patients suffering from pain were followed up prospectively for 12 months after surgery. All patients described the severity of their pain according to a visual analog scale (VAS) preoperatively and at 2 weeks, 6 months, and 12 months postoperatively. Pain unrelated to PD was not studied.
Several types of pain related to PD, the categories of which were based on a modification of 2 previous classifications (Ford and Honey), can occur in such patients: 1) musculoskeletal pain, 2) dystonic pain, 3) somatic pain exacerbated by PD, 4) radicular/peripheral neuropathic pain, and 5) central pain. The overall mean VAS score was significantly decreased postoperatively by 75% and 69% at 2 weeks and 6 months, respectively (p < 0.001). The mean VAS score at 12 months was also decreased by 80%, but 6 instances of pain (3 reports of somatic back pain and 3 reports of radicular/peripheral neuropathic pain) required additional spinal surgery to alleviate the pain severity. The results were analyzed using the Wilcoxon signed-rank test and demonstrated a significant reduction in VAS scores at all follow-up assessments (p < 0.001). Musculoskeletal pain and dystonic pain were well alleviated by STN stimulation. In contrast, somatic pain exacerbated by PD and peripheral neuropathic pain originating from lumbar spinal diseases, such as spondylosis deformans and/or canal stenosis, often deteriorated postoperatively despite attenuation of the patients' motor disability. Patients with central pain were poor responders.
This study found that STN stimulation produced significant improvement of overall pain related to PD in patients with advanced PD, and the efficacy continued for at least 1 year. The present results indicate that musculoskeletal pain and dystonic pain responded well to STN stimulation, but patients with back pain (somatic pain) and radicular/peripheral neuropathic pain originating from spinal disease have a potential risk for postoperative deterioration of their pain.