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Original Contribution
April 2005

Pallidal vs Subthalamic Nucleus Deep Brain Stimulation in Parkinson Disease

Author Affiliations

Author Affiliations: Departments of Neurological Surgery (Drs Anderson and Burchiel) and Neurology (Drs Hogarth and Hammerstad), Oregon Health and Science University, Portland; and Forum Centre, Montreux, Switzerland (Dr Favre).

Arch Neurol. 2005;62(4):554-560. doi:10.1001/archneur.62.4.554

Background  Deep brain stimulation (DBS) of the globus pallidus interna (GPi) and subthalamic nucleus (STN) has been reported to relieve motor symptoms and levodopa-induced dyskinesia in patients with advanced Parkinson disease (PD). Although it has been suggested that stimulation of the STN may be superior to stimulation of the GPi, comparative trials are limited.

Objective  To extend our randomized, blinded pilot comparison of the safety and efficacy of STN and GPi stimulation in patients with advanced PD.

Design  This study represents the combined results from our previously published, randomized, blinded, parallel-group pilot study and additional patients enrolled in our single-center extension study.

Setting  Oregon Health and Science University in Portland.

Patients  Twenty-three patients with idiopathic PD, levodopa-induced dyskinesia, and response fluctuations were randomized to implantation of bilateral GPi or STN stimulators. Patients and evaluating clinicians were blinded to stimulation site. All patients were tested preoperatively while taking and not taking medications and after 3, 6, and 12 months of DBS.

Main Outcome Measures  Postoperatively, response of symptoms to DBS, medication, and combined medication and DBS was evaluated. Twenty patients (10 in the GPi group and 10 in the STN group) completed 12-month follow-up.

Results  Off-medication Unified Parkinson’s Disease Rating Scale motor scores were improved after 12 months of both GPi and STN stimulation (39% vs 48%). Bradykinesia tended to improve more with STN than GPi stimulation. No improvement in on-medication function was observed in either group. Levodopa dose was reduced by 38% in STN stimulation patients compared with 3% in GPi stimulation patients (P = .08). Dyskinesia was reduced by stimulation at both GPi and STN (89% vs 62%). Cognitive and behavioral complications were observed only in combination with STN stimulation.

Conclusion  Stimulation of either the GPi or STN improves many features of advanced PD. It is premature to exclude GPi as an appropriate target for DBS in patients with advanced disease.