The efficacy of deep brain stimulation (DBS) for Parkinson disease (PD) is well established for up to 1 or 2 years, but long-term outcome data are still limited. In this Review, we critically discuss the evidence on the long-term outcomes of DBS and consider the clinical implications. Although many patients are lost to follow-up, the evidence indicates that subthalamic nucleus DBS improves motor function for up to 10 years, although the magnitude of improvement tends to decline over time. Functional scores recorded during on-medication periods worsen more quickly than those recorded in off periods, consistent with the degeneration of non-dopaminergic pathways. Dyskinesia, motor fluctuations and activities of daily living in off periods remain improved at 5 years, but quality-of-life scores have usually fallen below preoperative levels. The incidence and severity of dementia among patients receiving DBS are comparable to those among patients who receive medical treatment. Severe adverse events are rare, but adverse events such as dysarthria are common and probably under-reported. Long-term data on the outcomes of globus pallidus interna DBS are limited and mostly confirm the efficacy for dyskinesia. A trend towards offering DBS in the earlier stages of PD creates a need to identify factors that predict long-term outcomes and to discuss realistic expectations with patients preoperatively.
Department of Clinical and Movement Neurosciences, University College London, Queen Square Institute of Neurology, London, UK
National Hospital for Neurology and Neurosurgery, Queen Square, London, UK
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