Swallowing Quality of Life After Zona Incerta Deep Brain Stimulation

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The management of Parkinson’s disease (PD) has been improved, but management of signs like swallowing problems is still challenging. Deep brain stimulation (DBS) alleviates the cardinal motor symptoms and improves quality of life, but its effect on swallowing is not fully explored. The purpose of this study was to examine self-reported swallowing-specific quality of life before and after caudal zona incerta DBS (cZI DBS) in comparison with a control group.


Nine PD patients (2 women and 7 men) completed the self-report Swallowing Quality of Life questionnaire (SWAL-QOL) before and 12 months after cZI DBS surgery. The postoperative data were compared to 9 controls. Median ages were 53 years (range, 40-70 years) for patients and 54 years (range, 42-72 years) for controls.


No significant differences were found between the pre- or postoperative scores. The SWAL-QOL total scores did not differ significantly between PD patients and controls. The PD patients reported significantly lower scores in the burden subscale and the symptom scale.


Patients with PD selected for cZI DBS showed good self-reported swallowing-specific quality of life, in many aspects equal to controls. The cZI DBS did not negatively affect swallowing-specific quality of life in this study.

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