- Department of Neurosurgery and Neurology, Galeazzi Institute, Milan, Italy
Department of Neurosurgery and Neurology, Galeazzi Institute, Milan, Italy
DOI:10.4103/2152-7806.194064Copyright: © 2016 Surgical Neurology International This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 License, which allows others to remix, tweak, and build upon the work non-commercially, as long as the author is credited and the new creations are licensed under the identical terms.
How to cite this article: Domenico Servello, Christian Saleh, Alberto R. Bona, Edvin Zekaj, Carlotta Zanaboni, Mauro Porta. Deep brain stimulation for Parkinson's disease prior to L-dopa treatment: A case report. 14-Nov-2016;7:
How to cite this URL: Domenico Servello, Christian Saleh, Alberto R. Bona, Edvin Zekaj, Carlotta Zanaboni, Mauro Porta. Deep brain stimulation for Parkinson's disease prior to L-dopa treatment: A case report. 14-Nov-2016;7:. Available from: http://surgicalneurologyint.com/surgicalint_articles/deep-brain-stimulation-parkinsons-disease-prior-l%e2%80%91dopa-treatment-case-report/
Background:Leva-dopa (L-dopa) is the gold-standard treatment for Parkinson's disease (PD). Deep brain stimulation is generally reserved for patients who become refractory to l-dopa treatment.
Case Description:We present a male patient with a 9-year course of PD who at 53 years of age preferred deep brain stimulation (DBS) of the subthalamic nucleus over initial l-dopa treatment. The patient argued that he wanted to avoid the serious adverse effects of l-dopa, which would have presented within his time of full professional activity. DBS resulted in significant motor improvement lasting for 6 years without l-dopa treatment.
Conclusion:Large multicentre-based international trials with long follow-ups are needed to answer the effectiveness of early DBS in PD.
Keywords: Deep brain stimulation, L-dopa, Parkinson's disease
Parkinson's disease (PD) is a progressive, neurodegenerative disorder characterized by resting tremor, rigidity, bradykinesia, and postural instability.[
A 53-year-old engineer, who was suffering from PD for 9 years, worked as a manager for an international company and was an avid downhill skier. His initial symptoms of PD were right hemibody rigidity, bradykinesia, and resting tremor without any axial symptoms or freezing of gait. Pre-DBS medical treatment consisted of ropirinole 8 mg/day, rotigotine 8 mg/day, and selegiline 20 mg/day until 2009 when the symptoms became moderately disabling (leading to a decline in work performance and withdrawal from his passion to ski). Considering the worsening of symptoms and long-lasting dopamine-agonists’ intake, L-dopa treatment was proposed by his neurologist. As the patient was well-informed about DBS as an alternative option to the pharmacological treatment for PD and also aware of the possible serious side effects of long-lasting L-dopa intake, he was referred to our centre (Galeazzi Institute, Milan, Italy). After an exhaustive discussion with our multidisciplinary movement disorders team and a presurgical evaluation (56% UPDRS-III improvement at L-dopa challenge; average score at cognitive and psychiatric evaluations), we opted for a STN-DBS lead implantation. His preoperative UPDRS was 17. The uneventful procedure was performed in September 2009. Stimulation parameters were monopolar stimulation, pulse width of 60 ms, frequency of 130 Hz, initial amplitude of 2.5 V, which was increased to 3.5 V. The patient's pharmacological therapy was not changed after DBS surgery. The patient was able to return to work, resume skiing, and thus had a significant improvement in quality of life. The postoperative UPDRS dropped to 8. A slight progression of the hypophonia was observed (which could have been or due to natural disease progression or also to DBS); whereas balance, sleep, and salivation remained unremarkable (which could have been also due to a “protective” effect of DBS). In January 2015, the patient returned to our clinic because of a subtle worsening of his resting tremor and rigidity, which were more prominent on the right side. During the internal pulse generator (IPG) interrogation, the battery was found to be almost exhausted, thus necessitating IPG replacement. After IPG replacement, the patient's tremor and rigidity reduced. However, the patient's fatigue and general bradykinesia remained unchanged during the follow-up neurologic visits. In June 2015, the patient was started with L-dopa treatment (400 mg/day) that led to further improvement of his fatigue and motor performance. In January 2016, the neuropsychological tests were normal and in June 2016 at his latest follow-up visit, the UPDRS III was in On Med/On Stim settings 18.
Within the multifaceted treatment of PD, two aspects are of prime importance, the timing of DBS and the timing of L-dopa treatment. DBS is associated with potential surgical risks,[
Some authors advocate to delay L-dopa treatment in PD in order to postpone the related motor adverse effects.[
Given that L-dopa is unavoidably associated with long-term side effects at a stage when DBS becomes a potential treatment option, should one consider to reverse the approach anticipating DBS, consequently delaying the use of L-dopa and its side effects?
The EARLYSTIM trial[
Within this particular clinical and therapeutic constellation, an interesting finding of our case was that DBS had not only a highly beneficial but also a long lasting effect for 6 years without any significant worsening of symptoms (promising results in the Schüpbach et al.[
The timing of DBS[
We propose to consider DBS in patients prior to L-Dopa, however, with at least a 5 years of disease duration. Despite the promising results of the Schüpbach et al., EARLYSTIM Study[
Large multicentre-based international trials with long follow-ups are needed to answer the effectiveness of earlier DBS in PD. Only this data set will allow to refine further the guidelines of DBS for PD.
Financial support and sponsorship
Conflicts of interest
There are no conflicts of interest.
Gratefulness is expressed to Dr. Deborah McIntyre (Department of Neurology, Centre Hospitalier de Luxembourg, Luxembourg) for her thoughtful comments and revision of our manuscript.
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