In gratitude of the loyal support of our members, the CNS is offering complimentary 2021 Annual Meeting registration to all members! Learn more.

  • Long-term Quality of Life Outcomes Are Related to Patient Perception of Motor Symptoms Following Deep Brain Stimulation

    Final Number:

    Rebecca L Achey; Erin Yamamoto; Bryan S Lee MD; Sean J. Nagel MD; Andre Machado MD, PhD; Darlene Angela Lobel MD

    Study Design:
    Clinical Trial

    Subject Category:
    Functional Neurosurgery

    Meeting: 2016 ASSFN Biennial Meeting


    Deep brain stimulation (DBS) is a well-established therapy for treating motor symptoms of movement disorders. However, little is known about the impact of patient-perceived symptom severity on quality of life (QoL). Additionally, conflicting data exist regarding the effects of DBS on QoL measures, including depression. We analyzed the change in measures of tremor and QoL in DBS patients at our institution.


    A retrospective chart review was performed including patients with Parkinson’s disease and essential tremor. We analyzed data from pre-operative, post-operative and one-year follow-up visits including: the Patient-Health Questionnaire (PHQ-9, a standardized depression scale), UPDRS, and clinician-reported and self-reported tremor scores. Repeated measures ANOVA was used to examine changes in PHQ-9 and self-reported tremor from pre-operative to post-operative visits. Relationships between PHQ-9, UPDRS, clinician-reported and self-reported tremor scores were analyzed using linear regressions.


    Eighty-one patients who underwent unilateral or bilateral DBS at Cleveland Clinic from 2011-2013 completed PHQ-9 assessments. PHQ-9 scores significantly decreased from pre-operative (8.3±.66) to post-operative (6.7±.62) and one-year follow-up visits (5.8±.54)[F(2, 159.7)=8.89, p=.0002]. Self-reported tremor scores, completed by 34 patients, significantly decreased from pre-operative (12.4±.79) to one-year follow-up (6.6±.82)[F(1.6, 53.2)=23.9, p< .0001]. Prior to DBS surgery, there was no relationship between PHQ-9 and self-reported tremor. However, at post-operative and one-year follow–up visits, higher self-reported tremor scores were predictive of higher PHQ-9 scores [(ß=.28, p=.043) and (ß=.45, p=.007) respectively]. Interestingly, UPDRS and clinician-reported tremor scores were not predictive of PHQ-9 scores.


    We observed long-term improvement in patient-perceived depression following DBS, accompanied by a reduction in self-reported tremor scores. More severe tremors were predictive of higher depression ratings post-operatively. These data suggest that patient-perceived DBS efficacy is critical to patient quality of life. Further investigation is warranted to understand the relationship between factors that influence how patients experience illness and outcomes after DBS.

    Patient Care:

    Deep brain stimulation is an invasive therapy that is frequently used to treat medically refractory movement disorders. As such, there is value in examining how perception of DBS efficacy affects long-term quality of life. Knowledge of these effects will help target pre-operative selection strategies and post-operative follow-up care to improve management of patients suffering from prolonged, incurable illnesses.

    Learning Objectives:

    1 – Identify at least one scale to measure quality of life in patients with movement disorders 2 – Describe the impact of DBS on depression in patients with Parkinson’s disease and essential tremor 3 – Discuss the relationship between patient perception of outcomes after DBS and quality of life measures, including depression.


We use cookies to improve the performance of our site, to analyze the traffic to our site, and to personalize your experience of the site. You can control cookies through your browser settings. Please find more information on the cookies used on our site. Privacy Policy