Deep brain stimulation for gait and postural symptoms in Parkinson's disease


  • Relevant conflicts of interest/financial disclosures: Dr. Volkmann has received consulting fees from Medtronic, Boston Scientific and speaking honoraria from Medtronics, St. Jude and Boston Scientific.

  • Full financial disclosures and author roles may be found in the online version of this article.


In patients with Parkinson's disease, gait and balance difficulties have emerged as some of the main therapeutic concerns. During earlier stages of the disease, the dopamine-responsive aspects of gait disorder can be treated initially with dopaminergic drugs or deep brain stimulation. However, certain temporal aspects of parkinsonian gait disorder remain therapeutically resistant in both the short term and the long term. In this review, we summarize the effects of deep brain stimulation on gait and postural symptoms in the five currently available targets (subthalamic nucleus, globus pallidus, ventralis intermedius thalamic nucleus, pedunculopontine nucleus, and substantia nigra) and describe programming strategies for patients who are mainly disabled by gait problems. © 2013 International Parkinson and Movement Disorder Society