08:06 AM

Ohio State among first in nation to implant new deep-brain stimulation device

New technology optimizes treatment based on patient symptoms and anatomy

The team of neurologists and neurosurgeons at The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center and its Neurological Institute are among the first in the nation to implant a new deep-brain stimulation (DBS) device that will help improve the quality of life of patients with Parkinson’s disease.

The SenSight Directional Lead System by Medtronic is FDA-approved to treat patients with Parkinson’s disease, essential tremor, dystonia and epilepsy. Neurosurgeons Dr. Vibhor Krishna and Dr. Brian Dalm, in collaboration with neurologists Dr. Aristide Merola and Dr. Barbara Changizi, performed the first two surgeries in the Midwest last week.

Parkinson’s disease is a neurological disorder characterized by tremors, slow movements, stiff muscles and gait problems that develop over time. More than 100,000 patients worldwide have received DBS, which uses a small, pacemaker-like device placed under the skin of the chest to send electronic signals to an area in the brain that controls movement.

Klaire Purtee, 62, of Portsmouth, Ohio, was the first patient in Ohio to receive this new implant during a surgery last Thursday at Ohio State Wexner Medical Center. She’s a schoolteacher who’s looking forward to being able to drink a cup of hot coffee without spilling it and to sign her name with legible handwriting.

This new directional DBS lead works with Medtronic’s Percept PC neurostimulator to capture a patient’s brain signals and provide objective data to better understand how medication or stimulation changes affect the patient. This technology enhances the detection of local field potentials, small electrical signals generated by the brain that are 1 million times smaller than DBS stimulation pulses.

“This directional lead, coupled with the sensing technology, allows us to pick up brain signals and optimize stimulation to each patient’s specific symptoms and anatomy,” Krishna said.

Research at Ohio State and elsewhere in the past decade has shown that the results of stimulation are specific to the site of stimulation deep within the brain. Stimulation in specific directions is optimal, while stimulation in other directions causes unwanted side effects.

“We’re the first in Ohio to use this new device that combines both the sensing technology and directional technology,” said Dalm, who performed the second DBS surgery using this technology last Friday, adding that this is a “major milestone” in the treatment of Parkinson’s disease.

“The ability to record and identify the patient’s brain activities, along with directional capabilities to steer the currents of the electrodes, allows us to maximize the therapeutic benefits and minimize the side effects for our patients,” Dalm said.

In about three weeks, Purtee will return to Ohio State where neurologist Changizi, assisted by a skilled team of nurse practitioners, will program her DBS stimulator. Harnessing the potential of brain-sensing will maximize the DBS outcomes to deliver optimal stimulation settings, allowing Purtee to start enjoying her tremor-free life sooner.

“This represents a major advancement in our ability to understand the brain signals associated with neurodegenerative disorders. This is a critical step to maximize DBS clinical results and inform the development of innovative strategies for the management of Parkinson’s disease and other neurological conditions," said Merola, director of Ohio State’s Center for Parkinson Disease and other Movement Disorders.

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