Parkinson's Movement
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DBS safe for older patients

TUESDAY, Aug. 26, 2014 (HealthDay News) -- The risk of complications when implanting deep brain stimulation devices in the brains of people with Parkinson's disease is no greater in older patients than younger ones, a new study shows.

The treatment involves placing electrodes in specific parts of the brain. The new findings should ease concerns about using the devices in patients older than 75, the Duke University researchers said.

They analyzed data from more than 1,750 Parkinson's patients who had the devices implanted between 2000 and 2009. Of those patients, 7.5 percent had at least one complication within 90 days of the surgery. Complications included wound infections, bleeding, pneumonia and pulmonary embolism.

However, the overall risk of complications did not significantly increase with age, the researchers reported Aug. 25 in the journal JAMA Neurology.

Older patients were more likely to develop pneumonia compared with younger patients. However, pneumonia is somewhat common among older people who have surgery, noted study senior author Dr. Nandan Lad, director of the Duke Neuro-Outcomes Lab in Durham, N.C.

"Parkinson's disease is one of the most common movement disorders and it primarily afflicts older people," Lad said in a Duke news release. "For many, movement disorders can be managed with medications. But as the disease progresses -- and as people age -- tremors and side effects of medication, including involuntary muscle movements, are less controllable. So it's this older population for whom DBS could be quite beneficial."

"Our study should help patients and families considering DBS as a potential treatment option for managing the symptoms of Parkinson's disease," Lad said. "It also provides guidance to surgeons about the risks of common complications among older patients."

7 Replies

could you please tell me at what dose of sinemet should resort to DBS.


I do not have that info


Could you post the web link to this information please? I would like to refer a friend to it.


When my husband qualified for the procedure he was still working, not on Medicare yet. It stopped the tremors in their tracks, but PD marched on. Since he had experienced two power tool serious injuries while still shaking, it was a god send. Wish that meds absorption was not influenced by so many factors. The heat this summer has really sapped him.

Older patients considering this procedure must always weigh the risk of ANY surgery when you are over 75. Recovery may take longer than at 60.


With respect, I think you are a little out of date here. For some time now it has been shown by the EARLY-STIM study that DBS is just as effective for younger people whose symptoms are not as severe as much as in older people. I know this because, at the age of 58, and having been diagnosed eight years ago, I have been informed by my neurologist that following the results of that study, I am considered to be a good candidate DBS and am currently awaiting referral.


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