Brittle Dyskinesia Following STN but not GPi Deep Brain Stimulation

  • Ashok Sriram
  • Kelly D. Foote
  • Genko Oyama
  • Joshua Kwak
  • Pamela R. Zeilman
  • Michael S. Okun

Abstract

Background: The aim was to describe the prevalence and characteristics of difficult to manage dyskinesia associated with subthalamic nucleus (STN) deep brain stimulation (DBS). A small subset of STN DBS patients experience troublesome dyskinesia despite optimal programming and medication adjustments. This group of patients has been referred to by some practitioners as brittle STN DBS‐induced dyskinesia, drawing on comparisons with brittle diabetics experiencing severe blood sugar regulation issues and on a single description by McLellan in 1982. We sought to describe, and also to investigate how often the “brittle” phenomenon occurs in a relatively large DBS practice.

Methods: An Institutional Review Board‐approved patient database was reviewed, and all STN and globus pallidus internus (GPi) DBS patients who had surgery at the University of Florida from July 2002 to July 2012 were extracted for analysis.

Results: There were 179 total STN DBS patients and, of those, four STN DBS (2.2%) cases were identified as having dyskinesia that could not be managed without the induction of an “off state,” or by the precipitation of a severe dyskinesia despite vigorous stimulation and medication adjustments. Of 75 GPi DBS cases reviewed, none (0%) was identified as having brittle dyskinesia. One STN DBS patient was successfully rescued by bilateral GPi DBS.

Discussion: Understanding the potential risk factors for postoperative troublesome and brittle dyskinesia may have an impact on the initial surgical target selection (STN vs. GPI) in DBS therapy. Rescue GPi DBS therapy may be a viable treatment option, though more cases will be required to verify this observation.