Quality of life outcomes after deep brain stimulation in dystonia: A systematic review

Congratulations Drs. Takashi Tsuboi, Joshua K.Wong, Michael S.Okun, and Adolfo Ramirez-Zamora on the publication of “Quality of life outcomes after deep brain stimulation in dystonia: A systematic review, in the November 18th online edition of Parkinsonism & Related Disorders.


Dystonia is an incurable movement disorder which can cause not only physical but also mental problems, leading to impaired health-related quality of life (HRQoL). For patients with dystonia refractory to medical treatment, deep brain stimulation (DBS) is a well-established surgical treatment. The objective of this systematic review is to provide a better understanding of HRQoL outcomes after DBS for dystonia. A search of the literature was conducted using Medline (PubMed), Embase, and Cochrane Library databases in May 2019. HRQoL outcomes after DBS along with motor outcomes were reported in a total of 36 articles involving 610 patients: 21 articles on inherited or idiopathic isolated dystonia, 5 on tardive dystonia, 3 on cerebral palsy, 2 on myoclonus-dystonia, 1 on X-linked dystonia-parkinsonism, and 3 on mixed cohorts of different dystonia subtypes. DBS improved motor symptoms in various subtypes of dystonia. Most studies on patients with inherited or idiopathic isolated dystonia showed significant improvement in physical QoL, whereas gains in mental QoL were less robust and likely related to the complexity of associated neuropsychiatric problems. HRQoL outcomes beyond 5 years remain scarce. Although the studies on patients with other subtypes of dystonia also demonstrated improvement in HRQoL after DBS, the interpretation is difficult because of a limited number of articles with small cohorts. Most articles employed generic measures (e.g. Short Form Health Survey-36) and this highlights the critical need to develop and to utilize sensitive and disease-specific HRQoL measures. Finally, long-term HRQoL outcomes and predictors of HRQoL should also be clarified.