Chronic deep brain stimulation in patients with tardive dystonia without a history of major psychosis


  • Potential conflict of interest: Nothing to report.


Tardive dystonia usually occurs with a delay after neuroleptic exposure in patients with major psychosis. A subgroup of patients, however, is given such medication for “mild depression” or “neurasthenia.” Tardive dystonia, in general, may respond favorably to pallidal deep brain stimulation (DBS). Nevertheless, it remains unclear thus far whether or not similar beneficial outcome is achieved with pallidal DBS in different subgroups of patients with tardive dystonia. Four women (mean age 59 years at surgery) underwent stereotactic pallidal DBS in the frame of an observational study. Tardive dystonia occurred secondary to medication with fluspirilene and haloperidol, and injection of long-acting depot neuroleptics prescribed for mild depression or “nervousness.” Assessment included the Burke-Fahn-Marsden (BFM) scale preoperatively and at 12 months follow-up. Extended follow-up was available at a mean of 27.3 months postoperatively (range 16–36 months). There were no surgically related complications. All 4 patients experienced sustained statistically significant benefit from pallidal DBS. Mean improvement at 12 months was 77% for the BFM motor score (range, 45–91%; P = 0.043), and 84% at the last available follow-up (range, 70–91%; P = 0.03). This was paralleled by improvement of the BFM disability score. Chronic pallidal DBS in patients with tardive dystonia without a history of major psychosis provides sustained improvement which is similar to that in other subgroups of patients with tardive dystonia. This effect is stable on extended follow-up for up to 3 years. © 2010 Movement Disorder Society