Who is a candidate for deep brain stimulation treatment for Parkinsons?

Deep brain stimulation, or DBS, is a surgical procedure that can improve the motor symptoms of Parkinson’s disease including tremor, bradykinesia, rigidity, and dyskinesia.

Kelvin L. Chou, MD
Kelvin L. Chou, MD
12th Feb 2024 • 1m read

In this lesson from our Parkinson’s Masterclass: Advanced Therapeutics, we use a case to illustrate how to determine when to use deep brain stimulation for the treatment of Parkinson’s and what the patient needs to try first before being eligible for device-assisted or lesioning procedures.

Candidates for DBS should have motor fluctuations and / or dyskinesia that cause disability despite optimal medical management. 

This means the patient should

  • Be taking at least 4 doses of levodopa
  • Have tried at least one dopamine agonist
  • Have tried an extending agent
  • Have tried amantadine (if dyskinesia is present)

If the patient is still symptomatic, they meet the medication criteria for device-assisted or lesioning procedures. 

Using the Movement Disorder Society revision of the Unified Parkinson’s Disease Rating Scale (MDS-UPDRS), candidates should have at least a 30% improvement in symptoms going from the OFF to the ON state to qualify.

If you would like to learn more about DBS, head over to chapter 3 in our course.

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