More MS news articles for April 2002

Deep brain stimulation for tremor: Patient selection and evaluation

Mov Disord 2002;17 Suppl 3:S102-11
Deuschl G, Bain P.
Department of Neurology, Christian-Albrechts-University Kiel, Germany.

The selection of patients with movement disorders for deep brain stimulation is becoming a common neurological and neurosurgical task.

Deep brain stimulation is suitable for different forms of tremor, which can often not be treated with medication.

This suitability applies for essential tremor, monosymptomatic tremor at rest, cerebellar or multiple sclerosis tremor, Holmes' tremor, primary writing tremor or tremor in neuropathies.

The appropriate selection of patients is critical for the outcome of surgical relief of tremors.

Considering the risks of any stereotactic intervention, the following must apply:

(1) motor symptoms lead to a relevant disability in activities of daily living, despite optimal medical treatment;
(2) biological age of the patient;
(3) neurosurgical contraindications;
(4) the patient is neither demented nor severely depressed.

If these conditions are fulfilled, the individual chances of improvement of the target symptoms need to be checked, based on the following guidelines:

(1) the kind of tremor,
(2) the natural course of the tremor,
(3) the chances for medical treatment in a particular patient,
(4) the outcome of surgery in a specific condition,
(5) the individual risks for a patient to suffer from complications.

The outcome of surgery for tremor depends on the clinical type and distribution.

Distal limb tremors are easier to treat than proximal limb tremors.

Intention tremor is more difficult to treat than rest or postural tremor.

The indication for surgical treatment depends on the analysis of the individual risk-benefit ratio, which also has to take into account the patients' social, professional, and familial background.

The patient needs to be well informed about his individual risk-benefit ratio and of alternative treatments, before undergoing stereotactic surgery.

Copyright 2002 Movement Disorder Society