To evaluate the effects of deep brain stimulation of the subthalamic nucleus (STN-DBS) on motor complications in patients with Parkinson disease (PD) beyond 15 years after surgery.
Data on motor complications, quality of life (QoL), activities of daily living, Unified Parkinson’s Disease Rating Scale motor scores, dopaminergic treatment, stimulation measures, and side effects of STN-DBS were retrospectively retrieved and compared before surgery, at 1 year, and beyond 15 years after bilateral STN-DBS.
Fifty-one patients with 17.06 ± 2.18 years STN-DBS follow-up were recruited. Compared to baseline, the time spent with dyskinesia and the time spent in the “off” state were reduced by 75% (p < 0.001) and by 58.7% (p < 0.001), respectively. Moreover, dopaminergic drugs were reduced by 50.6% (p < 0.001). Parkinson's Disease Quality of Life Questionnaire total score and the emotional function and social function domains improved 13.8% (p = 0.005), 13.6% (p = 0.01), and 29.9% (p < 0.001), respectively. Few and mostly manageable device-related adverse events were observed during the follow-up.
STN-DBS is effective beyond 15 years from the intervention, notably with significant improvement in motor complications and stable reduction of dopaminergic drugs. Furthermore, despite the natural continuous progression of PD with worsening of levodopa-resistant motor and nonmotor symptoms over the years, patients undergoing STN-DBS could maintain an improvement in QoL.
Classification of Evidence
This study provides Class IV evidence that, for patients with PD, STN-DBS remains effective at treating motor complications 15 years after surgery.