Clinical Edge

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Subthalamic Nucleus DBS Tolerable & Effective

Neurology; ePub 2017 Jan 3; Ostrem, et al

A recent study offers support for long-term tolerability and sustained effectiveness of subthalamic nucleus (STN) deep brain stimulation (DBS) in the treatment of severe forms of isolated dystonia. 20 patients (12 male, 8 female; mean age 49 ± 16.3 years) with medically refractory isolated dystonia were studied. The primary endpoints were change in Burke-Fahn-Marsden Dystonia Rating Scale (BFMDRS) motor score and Toronto Western Spasmodic Torticollis Rating Scale (TWSTRS) total score at 36 months compared to preoperative baseline. Researchers found:

  • 18 of 20 patients showed improvement 12 months after STN DBS with sustained benefit persisting for 3 years (n=14).
  • At 36 months, BFMDRS motor scores improved 70.4% from a mean 17.9 ± 8.5 to 5.3 ± 5.6 and total TWSTRS scores improved 66.6% from a mean 41.0 ± 18.9 to 13.7 ± 17.9.
  • Improvement at 36 months was equivalent to that seen at 6 months.
  • Disability and quality of life measures were also improved.


Ostrem JL, San Luciano M, Dodenhoff KA, et al. Subthalamic nucleus deep brain stimulation in isolated dystonia. [Published online ahead of print January 3, 2017]. Neurology. doi:10.1212/WNL.0000000000003451.