Tolerance and tremor rebound following long-term chronic thalamic stimulation for Parkinsonian and essential tremor

Stereotact Funct Neurosurg. 1999;72(2-4):208-18. doi: 10.1159/000029728.


Fifty-eight patients, 36 with essential tremor (ET) and 22 with Parkinson's disease (PD), received deep brain stimulation (DBS) in the thalamic ventral intermediate (Vim) nucleus. The mean follow-up was 17 months for ET and 21 months for PD patients. Stimulation parameters were adjusted as needed, at various intervals after surgery. Results were assessed using routine clinical evaluation and established outcome scales. All patients needed incremental increase in stimulation parameters at various intervals during the first 6-12 months after surgery. The mean voltage 1 week postoperatively was 1. 45 V in PD patients, and 1.37 V in ET patients. Twelve months later, the figures were 2.14 V in PD and 2.25 V in ET patients. At 1 year, the Essential Tremor Rating Scale (ETRS) improved from 54 to 28 (p < 0.0001). The motor part of the Unified Parkinson's Disease Rating Scale (UPDRS) improved from 37 to 26 (p < 0.01). Tremor items of the UPDRS improved more markedly (p < 0.0001). One week postoperatively 90% of PD, and 89% of ET patients were tremor free. One year later, 70% of PD and 60% of ET patients remained mostly tremor free. Upon switching off stimulation, there was a clear tendency for tremor rebound (p = 0.07) in the PD group, requiring continuous 24-hour stimulation in some patients. Permanent non-adjustable ataxia was induced by stimulation in 2 PD patients.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Electric Stimulation Therapy*
  • Electrodes, Implanted*
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Parkinson Disease / therapy*
  • Recurrence
  • Severity of Illness Index
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Tremor / therapy*
  • Ventral Thalamic Nuclei / physiopathology*