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Zelma H. T. Kiss, Kristina Doig, Michael Eliasziw, Ranjiit Ranawaya, and Oksana Suchowersky

Object

Deep brain stimulation (DBS) of the globus pallidus internus (GPi) is beneficial for generalized dystonia and has been proposed as a treatment for cervical dystonia. The Canadian Stereotactic/Functional and Movement Disorders Groups designed a pilot project to investigate the following hypothesis: that bilateral DBS of the GPi will reduce the severity of cervical dystonia at 1 year of follow up, as scored in a blinded fashion by two neurologists using the Toronto Western Spasmodic Torticollis Rating Scale (TWSTRS). Secondary outcome measures included pain and disability subscores of the TWSTRS, Short Form–36 quality of life index, and the Beck Depression Inventory.

Methods

Three patients have undergone surgery in Calgary with a followup duration of 7.4 ± 5.9 months (mean ± standard deviation). One patient underwent inadvertent ineffective stimulation for the first 3 months and did not experience a benefit until DBS programming was corrected. All three patients had rapid response to stimulation, with the muscles relaxing immediately and abnormal movements improving within days. Total TWSTRS scores improved by 79%, and severity subscores improved significantly, from 15.7 ± 2.1 to 7.7 ± 2.9 (paired ttest, p = 0.02). Pain and disability subscores improved from 25.5 ± 4.1 to 3.3 ± 3.1 (paired ttest, p = 0.002) and from 13.3 ± 4.9 to 3.3 ± 4.2 (paired ttest, p = 0.06), respectively.

Conclusions

Although it is too early to reach broad conclusions, this report of preliminary results confirms the efficacy of DBS of the GPi for cervical dystonia.

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Jean Q. L. Oropilla, Cid C. E. Diesta, Parunut Itthimathin, Oksana Suchowersky, and Zelma H. T. Kiss

Myoclonic dystonia is poorly managed with medication and may be severe enough to warrant surgical intervention. Surgery has targeted either the globus pallidus pars interna (GPi) or the thalamus, but there is no accepted target for this condition. The authors present the case of a 23-year-old man treated with unilateral deep brain stimulation in both the thalamus and GPi. His movement disorder improved dramatically with stimulation. Two years postoperatively, the authors performed a double-blind assessment of the effects of each stimulator together, separately, and off stimulation. Videotape assessment, using tremor, dystonia, and myoclonus rating scales, showed that most of the benefit could be attributed to pallidal stimulation, although there was some advantage to stimulation at both sites. These results suggest that while GPi stimulation may be the better target for this condition, thalamic stimulation may be added in cases in which the benefit is insufficient.