Long-term outcome of subthalamic nucleus DBS in Parkinson's disease: From the advanced phase towards the late stage of the disease?

M. G. Rizzone, A. Fasano, A. Daniele, M. Zibetti, A. Merola, L. Rizzi, C. Piano, C. Piccininni, L. M. Romito, L. Lopiano, A. Albanese

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: Deep Brain Stimulation of the Subthalamic Nucleus (STN-DBS) is an effective treatment for Parkinson's disease (PD), but only few studies investigated its long-term efficacy. Furthermore, little is known about the role of PD-subtype on STN-DBS long-term outcome. Objective: To report the results of a long-term follow-up (mean 11 years, range 10-13) on 26 patients bilaterally implanted in two centres. Methods: Patients were assessed preoperatively and 1, 5 and 11 years after the implant by the Unified Parkinson's Disease Rating Scale (UPDRS) and a battery of neuropsychological tests. Stimulation parameters, drugs dosages, non-motor symptoms and adverse events were also recorded. Results: At 11 years, stimulation significantly improved the motor symptoms by 35.8%, as compared to the preoperative off-state. Motor complications were well controlled, with a 84.6% improvement of dyskinesias and a 65.8% improvement of motor fluctuations. Despite this, the UPDRS-II-on score worsened by 88.5%, mainly for the worsening of poorly levodopa-responsive symptoms. More than 70% of the patients performed in the normal range in most of the neuropsychological tests, despite the development of dementia in 22.7%. Age at disease onset, axial subscore in off-condition and presence of REM behaviour disorder at baseline were found to be associated with a higher risk of developing disability over time. Conclusions: Our study confirms the long-term safety and efficacy of STN-DBS in PD. Nevertheless, the functionality of patients worsens over time, mainly for the onset and progression of levodopa-resistant and non-motor symptoms. The role of PD-subtype seems to be relevant in the long-term outcome.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)376-381
Number of pages6
JournalParkinsonism and Related Disorders
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2014


  • Deep brain stimulation
  • Parkinson's disease
  • Subthalamic nucleus

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geriatrics and Gerontology
  • Clinical Neurology
  • Neurology
  • Medicine(all)


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