Comparing deep brain stimulation in the ventral intermediate nucleus versus the posterior subthalamic area in essential tremor patients

Aurélie Degeneffe, Mark Kuijf, Linda Ackermans, Yasin Temel, Pieter Kubben*

*Corresponding author for this work

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The ventral intermediate nucleus (VIM) is the most commonly used target for deep brain stimulation (DBS) in patients with essential tremor (ET). Recent evidence suggests that the posterior subthalamic area (PSA) might be a better target for tremor reduction. We compared the outcome of VIM DBS with PSA DBS in our cohort of patients.Overall, 19 ET patients with bilateral DBS were included in this retrospective study, with a total of 38 electrodes (12 located in the VIM, 12 in the PSA, and 14 in an intermediate area). The outcome was measured using the essential tremor rating scale (ETRS), the glass scale and the quality of life in essential tremor questionnaire (QUEST).Unilateral tremor-scores with items 5-6 (tremor of the upper extremity), 8-9 (tremor of the lower extremity), and 11-14 (hand function) from the ETRS showed a 63% tremor reduction in the VIM group, 47% tremor reduction in the PSA group, and 67% tremor reduction in the intermediate group after a mean follow-up of 1.6 years. After a mean follow-up of 5.8 years, there was a tremor reduction of 50%, 34%, and 45%, respectively. In our series, side effects such as dysarthria (75%), ataxia and disequilibrium (40%), and paraesthesia (15%) were assessed.All aforementioned anatomical target areas are effective in reducing tremor, although no superior reduction was found with PSA stimulation. Because of intraindividual differences between left and right hemisphere regarding the stimulated anatomical target, no conclusions can be drawn regarding differences in side effects.
Original languageEnglish
Article number244
JournalSurgical Neurology International
Publication statusPublished - 2018

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