Deep brain stimulation of the subthalamic nucleus for advanced Parkinson disease using general anesthesia: long-term results Clinical article

AM Harries, J Kausar, SAG Roberts, AP Mocroft, James Hodson, Hardev Pall, Rosalind Mitchell

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Object. The authors analyze long-term outcome in a substantial number of patients who underwent subthalamic nucleus (STN) deep brain stimulation (DBS) surgery under general anesthesia. Methods. Eighty-two patients underwent bilateral placement of DBS electrodes under general anesthesia for advanced Parkinson disease; the STN was the target in all cases. All patients underwent intraoperative microelectrode recording of the STN. No intraoperative macrostimulation was performed. Unified Parkinson's Disease Rating Scale (UPDRS) data were recorded in 28 patients. Assessment of outcome was performed using the UPDRS (in 28 cases), the electrophysiological recordings (in all 82 cases), medication reduction (in 78 cases), and complications (in 82 cases). Results. There was improvement in UPDRS scores across all measures following surgery. The total UPDRS score, off medication, improved from 68.78 (geometrical mean, 95% CI 61.76-76.60) preoperatively to 45.89 (geometrical mean, 95% CI 34.86-60.41) at 1 year postoperatively (p = 0.003, data available in 26 patients). Improvements were obtained in UPDRS Part II (Activities of Daily Living) off medication (p = 0.001) and also UPDRS Part III (Motor Examination) off medication (p <0.001). Results for the on-medication and on-stimulation states also showed a statistically significant improvement for UPDRS Part III (p = 0.047). Good microelectrode recording of the STN was obtained under general anesthesia; the median first-track length was 4.0 mm, and the median number of tracks passed per patient was 3.0. The median reduction in levodopa medication was 58.1% (interquartile range 42.9%-73.3%). One patient had an intracerebral hemorrhage in the track of 1 electrode but did not require surgical evacuation. One patient had generalized convulsive seizures 24 hours postoperatively and was intubated for seizure control. Unified Parkinson's Disease Rating Scale scores were obtained in 26 patients at 1 year, 28 patients at 3 years, 17 at 5 years, and 7 at 7 years postoperatively. Up to 7 years postoperatively, there was sustained improvement in the total UPDRS score. The results in these patients showed minimal deterioration in the motor section of the UPDRS over time, up to 7 years following the operation. The authors found no evidence that the UPDRS Part II scores changed significantly over the period of 1-7 years after surgery (p = 0.671, comparison of mean scores at 1 and 7 years using generalized estimating equations). Conclusions. Long-term outcomes confirm that it is both safe and effective to perform STN DBS under general anesthesia. As part of patient choice, this option should be offered to all DBS candidates with advanced Parkinson disease to enable more of these patients to undergo this beneficial surgery. (DOI: 10.3171/2011.7.JNS11319)
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)107-113
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Neurosurgery
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2012


  • general anesthesia
  • subthalamic nucleus deep brain stimulation
  • Parkinson disease
  • long-term outcome
  • functional neurosurgery


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