Congratulations to Stephanie Cernera, Robert S. Eisinger, Joshua K. Wong, Kwo Wei David Ho, Janine Lobo Lopes, Kevin To, Samuel Carbunaru, Adolfo Ramirez-Zamora, Leonardo Almeida, Kelly D. Foote, Michael S. Okun & Aysegul Gunduz on the publication of “Long-term Parkinson’s disease quality of life after staged DBS: STN vs GPi and first vs second lead,” in the July 6th issue of NPJ Parkinson’s Disease.
Deep brain stimulation (DBS) for Parkinson’s disease (PD) improves quality of life (QoL), but longitudinal follow-up data are scarce. We sought to quantify long-term benefits of subthalamic nucleus (STN) vs globus pallidus internus (GPi), and unilateral vs staged bilateral PD-DBS on postoperative QoL. This is a retrospective, longitudinal, non-randomized study using the PD QoL questionnaire (PDQ)-39 in patients with STN- or GPi-DBS, and with unilateral (N = 191) or staged bilateral (an additional contralateral lead implant) surgery (N = 127 and 156 for the first and second lead, respectively). Changes in PDQ-39 summary index (PDQ-39SI) and subscores throughout 60 months of follow-up were used as the primary analysis. We applied mixed models that included levodopa and covariates that differed at baseline across groups. For unilateral implantation, we observed an initial improvement in PDQ-39SI of 15.55 ± 3.29% (µ ± SE) across both brain targets at 4 months postoperatively. Unilateral STN patients demonstrated greater improvement in PDQ-39SI than GPi patients at 4 and 18 months postoperatively. Analysis of patients with staged bilateral leads revealed an initial 25.34 ± 2.74% (µ ± SE) improvement in PDQ-39SI at 4 months after the first lead with further improvement until 18 months, with no difference across targets. Scores did not improve after the second lead with gradual worsening starting at 18 months postoperatively. STN-DBS provided greater short-term QoL improvement than GPi-DBS for unilateral surgery. For staged bilateral DBS, overall QoL improvement was explained primarily by the first lead. Decision-making for patients considering DBS should include a discussion surrounding the potential risks and benefits from a second DBS lead.