Object. The authors studied neuropsychological performance following microelectrode-guided posteroventral pallidotomy in patients with Parkinson's disease (PD) and evaluated correlations with presurgical and surgical factors.
Methods. Neuropsychological changes 3 months (43 patients) and 12 months (27 patients) after microelectrode-guided pallidotomy for PD are reported in a series of 44 consecutive patients with the disease, who improved neurologically, as measured by the Unified Parkinson's Disease Rating Scale (UPDRS) in both the “off” (p < 0.001) and best “on” (p < 0.001) states.
Findings of the vocabulary subtest of the Wechsler Adult Intelligence Scale—Revised (p < 0.01), Letter Fluency (p < 0.001), Verbal Fluency for semantic categories (p < 0.001), and the Wisconsin Card Sorting Test (p < 0.01) showed a significant decline in neuropsychological performance in patients 3 months after undergoing left-sided pallidotomy. Impairment in the language domain (semantic fluency) persisted at the 12-month follow-up examination (p < 0.01). Visual memory improved after right-sided pallidotomies (p < 0.01 after 3 months), with a nonsignificant trend toward persistent improvement 1 year postsurgery (p < 0.02 after 12 months). Preoperative semantic fluency was influenced by patient age (p < 0.001) and by the width of the third ventricle (p < 0.05), as measured by magnetic resonance imaging.
A regression model revealed that semantic fluency 3 months postoperatively was significantly affected by the baseline score (p < 0.001), side of surgery (p < 0.001), handedness (p < 0.01), and patient age (p < 0.05). However, postoperative lesion volume, lesion location, number of tracks, number of lesions, distance from anatomical landmarks, or UPDRS score did not significantly contribute to neuropsychological outcome.
Conclusions. Neuropsychological changes in a cohort of patients with PD who underwent pallidotomy and experienced excellent clinical benefits and minimum postoperative complications, emphasize the importance of neuropsychological examinations and further investigation of predictive factors.