Exploring clinical outcomes in patients with idiopathic/inherited isolated generalized dystonia and stimulation of the subthalamic region
Abstract Background Deep Brain Stimulation (DBS) is an established treatment option for refractory dystonia, but the improvement among the patients is variable. Objective To describe the outcomes of DBS of the subthalamic region (STN) in dystonic patients and to determine whether the volume of tissue activated (VTA) inside the STN or the structural connectivity between the area stimulated and different regions of the brain are associated with dystonia improvement. Methods The response to DBS was measured by the Burke-Fahn-Marsden Dystonia Rating Scale (BFM) before and 7 months after surgery in patients with generalized isolated dystonia of inherited/idiopathic etiology. The sum of the two overlapping STN volumes from both hemispheres was correlated with the change in BFM scores to assess whether the area stimulated inside the STN affects the clinical outcome. Structural connectivity estimates between the VTA (of each patient) and different brain regions were computed using a normative connectome taken from healthy subjects. Results Five patients were included. The baseline BFM motor and disability subscores were 78.30 ± 13.55 (62.00-98.00) and 20.60 ± 7.80 (13.00-32.00), respectively. Patients improved dystonic symptoms, though differently. No relationships were found between the VTA inside the STN and the BFM improvement after surgery (p = 0.463). However, the connectivity between the VTA and the cerebellum structurally correlated with dystonia improvement (p = 0.003). Conclusions These data suggest that the volume of the stimulated STN does not explain the variance in outcomes in dystonia. Still, the connectivity pattern between the region stimulated and the cerebellum is linked to outcomes of patients.