Tremor and Other Hyperkinetic Movements

Deep Brain Stimulation Target Selection in an Advanced Parkinson’s Disease Patient with Significant Tremor and Comorbid Depression

Amar S. Patel


Clinical Vignette: A 67-year-old female with advanced Parkinson’s disease (PD), medically refractory tremor, and a history of significant depression presents for evaluation of deep brain stimulation (DBS) candidacy. 

Clinical Dilemma: Traditionally, stimulation of the subthalamic nucleus (STN) has been the preferred target for patients with significant PD tremor. However, STN stimulation is avoided in patients with a significant pre-surgical history of mood disorder. 

Clinical Solution: Bilateral DBS of the globus pallidus interna led to significant short term improvement in PD motor symptoms, including significant tremor reduction. 

Gap in Knowledge: There is insufficient evidence to support or refute clinicians’ traditional preference for STN stimulation in treating refractory PD tremor. Similarly, the available evidence for risk of worsening depression and/or suicidality after STN DBS is mixed. Both questions require further clarification to guide patient and clinician decision-making.


This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 4.0 International License.

The opinions expressed within this journal do not necessarily reflect those of Tremor, its staff, its advisory Boards, or affiliates, or those of Columbia University.