Functional outcome and quality of life in Tourette's syndrome after deep brain stimulation of the posteroventrolateral globus pallidus internus: long-term follow-up

Sandra Dehning, Bianka Leitner, Rebecca Schennach, Norbert Müller, Kai Bötzel, Michael Obermeier, Jan-Hinnerk Mehrkens
World Journal of Biological Psychiatry 2014, 15 (1): 66-75

OBJECTIVES: Deep brain stimulation (DBS) for Tourette's syndrome (TS) in various targets has been in the focus for some years. However, there are hardly any data on "psychosocial" outcome after DBS for TS. The aim of the present study therefore was to focus on the functional outcome and "psychosocial changes" in TS patients after DBS.

METHODS: Six patients with treatment-refractory TS underwent GPi-DBS. The Yale Global Tic Severity Scale (YGTSS) was used to evaluate symptomatic outcome. Psychosocial changes were assessed applying the Global Assessment of Functioning Scale (GAF) and the Gilles-de-la-Tourette-Syndrome Quality-of-Life scale (GTS-QOL) with additionally documenting psychosocial changes. Follow-up ranged between 12 and 72 months.

RESULTS: In all symptomatic responders (4 of 6) we found a significant functional improvement (mean GAF increasing from 53.75 (± 7.5) pre-operatively to 83.75 (± 7.5) at last follow-up) along with a positive correlation with the course of GTS-QOL (R(2) = 0.62).

CONCLUSIONS: Treatment success should not only be assessed with the classic "tic-scales", but also with the GAF and GTS-QOL. Although improvement of tics seems to be positively correlated with improved functional outcome, symptomatic improvement may lead to unexpected major psychosocial changes - which both the patient and the clinicians in charge - should be prepared for.

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