High-frequency stimulation of the subthalamic nucleus for the treatment of Parkinson's disease--a team perspective

J Neurosci Nurs. 2004 Dec;36(6):301-11. doi: 10.1097/01376517-200412000-00003.


Parkinson's disease (PD) is a debilitating neurodegenerative disorder affecting more than 1.2 million people in the United States. Genetic and environmental toxins are believed to be risk factors in acquiring the disease. PD is characterized by tremors, rigidity, bradykinesia, poor gait, and postural instability. These cardinal symptoms improve with medication such a levo-dopa (L-dopa). However, over time, as the disease progresses, the patient becomes refractory to medication, or medication produces debilitating side effects. When this occurs or when there are worsening of symptoms, neurosurgical treatment is recommended, particularly deep brain stimulating (DBS) electrodes implanted in the subcortical subthalamic nucleus (STN). Over the last 5 years STN DBS has gained acceptance and become the neurosurgical treatment of choice for PD. To achieve maximum beneficial effects with minimum adverse effects from the surgery, the expertise of an integrated team of physicians and nurses is essential. A clear understanding of the different aspects of the procedure, including the risks and benefits of the treatment, assists neuroscience nurses in communicating with the PD patient, and providing the most appropriate, knowledge-based pre- and postoperative care.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Deep Brain Stimulation / nursing*
  • Humans
  • Parkinson Disease / nursing*
  • Parkinson Disease / surgery
  • Parkinson Disease / therapy*
  • Patient Care Team*
  • Perioperative Nursing / methods
  • Subthalamic Nucleus*