Bilateral subthalamic nucleus deep brain stimulation (STN-DBS) is the gold standard surgical treatment for medically intractable Parkinson disease, and unilateral electrodes are reported to have beneficial effects. However, assessment of patients after electrode failure needs to be established.OBJECTIVE:
To assess the effects of the remaining unilateral electrode in Parkinson disease after bilateral STN-DBS.METHODS:
Between May 2000 and March 2009, 8 patients had unilateral STN-DBS after bilateral STN-DBS. We assessed clinical outcome by comparing the Unified Parkinson Disease Rating Scale (UPDRS) motor score, activities of daily living, levodopa-equivalent daily dosages, and quality of life according to the Short-Form 36 Health Survey between patients with unilateral and bilateral electrodes.RESULTS:
Although ipsilateral and axial UPDRS motor scores were compromised, UPDRS motor scores contralateral to the side of the implant remained unaltered after removal of 1 electrode. Although physical aspects of quality of life declined significantly with a unilateral electrode, pain and social functioning were not significantly affected. No significant changes in activities of daily living, Hoehn and Yahr stage, or levodopa-equivalent daily dosage were observed after removal of 1 electrode.CONCLUSION:
The UPDRS motor score with unilateral STN-DBS was compromised relative to bilateral STN-DBS for ipsilateral motor and axial symptoms. When 1 electrode is compromised, revision of that electrode will eventually be required, but not immediately in all patients. If a patient tolerates loss of 1 electrode according to motor score while maintaining activities of daily living and quality of life, it is possible to wait and observe the situation instead of immediately revising the electrode.