-- Robert Preidt
TUESDAY, Aug. 26, 2014 (HealthDay News) -- The risk of
complications when implanting deep brain stimulation devices in the
brains of people with Parkinson's disease is no greater in older
patients than younger ones, a new study shows.
The treatment involves placing electrodes in specific parts of
the brain. The new findings should ease concerns about using the
devices in patients older than 75, the Duke University researchers
They analyzed data from more than 1,750 Parkinson's patients who
had the devices implanted between 2000 and 2009. Of those patients,
7.5 percent had at least one complication within 90 days of the
surgery. Complications included wound infections, bleeding,
pneumonia and pulmonary embolism.
However, the overall risk of complications did not significantly
increase with age, the researchers reported Aug. 25 in the journal
Older patients were more likely to develop pneumonia compared
with younger patients. However, pneumonia is somewhat common among
older people who have surgery, noted study senior author Dr. Nandan
Lad, director of the Duke Neuro-Outcomes Lab in Durham, N.C.
"Parkinson's disease is one of the most common movement disorders and it primarily afflicts older people," Lad said in a Duke news release. "For many, movement disorders can be managed with medications. But as the disease progresses -- and as people age -- tremors and side effects of medication, including involuntary muscle movements, are less controllable. So it's this older population for whom DBS could be quite beneficial."
"Our study should help patients and families considering DBS as a potential treatment option for managing the symptoms of Parkinson's disease," Lad said. "It also provides guidance to surgeons about the risks of common complications among older patients."
The U.S. National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke
has more about
deep brain stimulation for Parkinson's
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