Background: Deep brain stimulation (DBS) is gaining wide acceptance as treatment for Parkinson’s disease (PD), essential tremor, and dystonia. Methods: A 40-item questionnaire commissioned by the DBS Study Group was sent to 46 centers that had performed at least 25 DBS implantations. These centers were identified through the DBS Study Group, other professional societies, and with the assistance of the Medtronic Corporation. The results were then tabulated and descriptive analyses were performed. Results: Thirty-six of 47 centers (77%) responded, they had implanted 4,553 patients. The timing for bilaterally implanted patients varied, as 13 sites almost always implanted simultaneously whereas 14 sites almost never implanted simultaneously. Stereotactic frames included Leksell (n = 19), CRW (n = 15) and Compass (n = 2). Post-placement imaging was routinely performed by almost all centers and included MRI (n = 23), CT (n = 4), CT/MRI variably (n = 5), and ventriculography (n = 1). Two centers used more than one electrode per side. The 34 centers that used a single electrode averaged 2.3 ± 1.4 passes per electrode (range: 1–18 passes). Most centers used macro-stimulation to confirm placement by assessing the intra-operative clinical response (n = 34), and to assess for adverse events (n = 26) at high voltages, averaging 6.7 ± 2.3 V (range: 4–10). The initial activation averaged 18 ± 12 days after electrode placement (average range: 11 ± 10 to 28 ± 18 days, absolute range: 1–90 days). Most sites had several programmers; however, the primary programmers were neurology staff (n = 15), the neurologist (n = 13), neurosurgery staff (n = 6), the neurosurgeon (n = 2), or a physiatrist (n = 1). Twelve centers automatically reduced PD medications on the day of initial activation, 9 centers reduced them variably, and 16 centers initially did not reduce them. Eventually, 80.4% of patients were reported to have some dose reduction, and 47.1% had a greater than 50% reduction of PD medications. Conclusions: Strategies regarding DBS placement and adjustment vary in North America.
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