Tremor and Quality of Life in Patients With Advanced Essential Tremor Before and After Replacing Their Standard Deep Brain Stimulation With a Directional System

Marie T. Krüger, Josue M. Avecillas-Chasin, Mandeep S. Tamber, Manraj K.S. Heran, Mini K. Sandhu, Nancy E. Polyhronopoulos, Natasha Sarai, Christopher R. Honey

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations

Abstract

Objectives: Patients with essential tremor treated with thalamic deep brain stimulation may experience increased tremor with the progression of their disease. Initially, this can be counteracted with increased stimulation. Eventually, this may cause unwanted side-effects as the circumferential stimulation from a standard ring contact spreads into adjacent regions. Directional leads may offer a solution to this clinical problem. We aimed to compare the ability of a standard and a directional system to reduce tremor without side-effects and to improve the quality of life for patients with advanced essential tremor. Materials and Methods: Six advanced essential tremor patients with bilateral thalamic deep brain stimulation had their standard system replaced with a directional system. Tremor rating scale scores were prospectively evaluated before and after the replacement surgery. Secondary analyses of quality of life related to tremor, voice, and general health were assessed. Results: There was a significantly greater reduction in tremor without side-effects (p = 0.017) when using the directional system. There were improvements in tremor (p = 0.031) and voice (p = 0.037) related quality of life but not in general health for patients using optimized stimulation settings with the directional system compared to the standard system. Conclusions: In this cohort of advanced essential tremor patients who no longer had ideal tremor reduction with a standard system, replacing their deep brain stimulation with a directional system significantly improved their tremor and quality of life. Up-front implantation of directional deep brain stimulation leads may provide better tremor control in those patients who progress at a later time point.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)353-360
Number of pages8
JournalNeuromodulation
Volume24
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - Feb 2021
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • Deep brain stimulation
  • directional lead
  • essential tremor
  • side-effects
  • ventral intermediate nucleus

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