Pallidal stimulation for acquired dystonia due to cerebral palsy: beyond 5 years

L M Romito, G Zorzi, C E Marras, A Franzini, N Nardocci, A Albanese
European Journal of Neurology 2015, 22 (3): 426-e32

BACKGROUND AND PURPOSE: There is increasing evidence that deep brain stimulation (DBS) of the globus pallidus internus (GPi) is effective in patients with idiopathic or inherited generalized dystonia. There is comparatively less experience about the effects of GPi DBS on acquired dystonia, particularly dystonia due to cerebral palsy (DCP). Clinical and demographic outcome predictors for DBS in dystonia syndromes are also poorly defined. Our aim was to examine the efficacy and safety of GPi DBS for the treatment of generalized DCP.

METHODS: Fifteen patients with DCP up to 6.2 years after DBS surgery were studied. Only mild limb spasticity or mild static brain magnetic resonance imaging abnormalities were acceptable for inclusion. Dystonia severity and disability were assessed by the Burke-Fahn-Marsden dystonia rating scale (BFMDRS), and health-related quality of life was assessed by the Short Form General Health Survey (SF-36) scale. The amount of energy delivered was calculated, and adverse events and side effects were collected.

RESULTS: At last follow-up, BFMDRS motor score improved on average by 49.5%, and the disability score improved by 30%. Health-related quality of life improved in most patients. Age at implant, age at onset and disease duration did not correlate to outcome, whilst higher pre-operative dystonia severity and occurrence of spasticity were associated with poorer outcome. The patients received a stable amount of energy after the first 2 years post-implant and throughout all the observation period. There were few serious adverse events or side effects.

CONCLUSIONS: The outcome was encouraging in the majority of DCP patients, with a stable outlook and a good safety profile.

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