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Keywords:

  • Multiple sclerosis;
  • Postural tremor;
  • Thalamus;
  • Electrical stimulation;
  • Stereotaxy

Abstract

Tremor can be particularly disabling in patients with multiple sclerosis (MS) and is mildly improved by drug treatment. The efficiency of stereotactic thalamotomy has been reported in a small number of patients but was counterbalanced by severe postoperative complications. Stimulation of the thalamic ventral intermediate nucleus, which is a less aggressive surgical method, is efficient in essential and in parkinsonian tremors. We report here the results of thalamic stimulation in 13 patients with MS with tremor. All patients were subjected to clinical examination, videorecording, and quantification of the functional disability before surgery and 3 months postoperatively. The surgical intervention was well tolerated in all cases. A clear improvement of the tremor was observed in 69.2% of the patients. Functional improvement was more varied and depended on the severity of tremor and coexistence of other neurological symptoms. Of the eight most severely affected patients, seven recovered the possibility to easily catch an object and use it. The results indicate that thalamic stimulation may be useful in the treatment of severe postural cerebellar tremor in MS.