Deep Brain Stimulation in Rare Inherited Dystonias

Brain Stimul. 2016 Nov-Dec;9(6):905-910. doi: 10.1016/j.brs.2016.07.009. Epub 2016 Oct 4.


Background: Rare causes of inherited movement disorders often present with a debilitating phenotype of dystonia, sometimes combined with parkinsonism and other neurological signs. Since these disorders are often resistant to medications, DBS may be considered as a possible treatment.

Methods: Patients with identified genetic diseases (ataxia-telangiectasia, chorea-achantocytosis, dopa-responsive dystonia, congenital nemaline myopathy, methylmalonic aciduria, neuronal ceroid lipofuscinosis, spinocerebellar ataxia types 2 and 3, Wilson's disease, Woodhouse-Sakati syndrome, methylmalonic aciduria, and X trisomy) and disabling dystonia underwent bilateral GPi DBS (bilateral thalamic Vim nucleus in 1 case). The primary outcome was the difference in the Burke-Fahn-Marsden Dystonia Rating Scale (BFMDRS) between baseline, 1 year and last available follow-up. Preoperative factors such as age at surgery, disease duration at surgery, proportion of life lived with dystonia and severity of dystonia were correlated to the primary outcome.

Results: Eleven patients were operated between February 2003 and December 2013. Age and duration of disease at time of surgery were 30 ± 19 and 12.5 ± 15.7 years, respectively. DBS effects on dystonia severity were variable but overall marginally effective, with a mean improvement of 7.9% (p = 0.39) at 1-year follow-up and 16.7% (p = 0.46) at last follow-up (mean 47.3 ± 19.9 months after surgery). No preoperative factors were identified to predict the surgical outcome.

Conclusion: Our findings support the current knowledge that DBS is modestly effective in treating rare inherited dystonias with a combined phenotype. However, the BFMDRS might not be the best tool to measure outcome in these severely affected patients.

Keywords: Deep brain stimulation; Dystonia; Inherited dystonia; Treatment.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Child
  • Deep Brain Stimulation / methods*
  • Dystonic Disorders / genetics
  • Dystonic Disorders / therapy*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Rare Diseases
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Young Adult