Deep Brain Stimulation Surgery for Focal Hand Dystonia

2016-09-22 21:08:21 | BioPortfolio


Researchers want to test a procedure called deep brain simulation (DBS) to treat focal hand dystonia (FHD). A device called a neurostimulator is placed in the chest. It is attached to wires placed in brain areas that affect movement. Stimulating these areas can help block nerve signals that cause abnormal movements.


To test DBS as treatment for FHD. To learn about brain and nerve cell function in people with dystonia.


People ages 18 and older with severe FHD who have tried botulinum toxin treatment at least twice


Participation lasts 5 years.

Participants will be screened with:

Medical history

Physical exam

Videotape of their dystonia

Blood, urine, and heart tests

Brain MRI scan

Chest X-ray

Neuropsychological tests: answering questions, doing simple actions, and taking memory and thinking tests.

Hand movement tests

Participants will have surgery: A frame fixes their head to the operating table. A small hole is made in the skull. Wires are inserted to record brain activity and stimulate the brain while they do simple tasks. The wires are removed and the DBS electrode is inserted into the hole. The neurostimulator is placed under the skin of the chest, with wires running to the electrode in the brain. They will have CT and MRI scans during surgery.

Participants will recover in the hospital for about 1 week.

The neurostimulator will be turned on 1 4 weeks after discharge. Participants will have regular visits until the study ends. Visits include:

Checking symptoms and side effects


Movement, thinking, and memory tests

If the neurostimulator s battery runs out, participants will have surgery to replace it.



To confirm the safety and efficacy of thalamic deep brain stimulation (DBS) targeting the ventralis oralis anterior/ventralis oralis posterior (VOA/VOP) nuclear complex in the treatment of subjects with focal hand dystonia (FHD); and to study the electrophysiologic properties of neurons in the VOA/VOP complex. Deep brain stimulation DBS is FDA approved for Parkinson s disease, Essential tremor, Dystonia (humanitarian exemption), Obsessive- Compulsive disorder (humanitarian exemption) but not for focal hand dystonia.

Study population

Five adults with focal hand dystonia will be studied.


This is a pilot study of 5 subjects with severe intractable FHD whose activities of daily living and quality of life are severely impaired. They will be recruited from our clinic and from neurology practices in the DC metro area and the University of Virginia. The subjects will undergo unilateral VOA/VOP DBS implantation, followed by programming to optimal parameters. The subjects will be followed at monthly intervals for 3 months, then every 3 months for 2 years, and then every 6 months until 5 years from the start. The safety of the procedure will be the primary outcome of the study. Efficacy will be assessed in several secondary outcomes, the most important ones being the change in dystonia severity and a quality of life scores. The electrophysiologic features of the motor ventral thalamic neurons will be recorded intraoperatively.

Outcome measures


-Number and severity of adverse events in the 5-year follow-up period.


- Upper extremity disability sub-score of the Burke-Fahn-Marsden (BFM) scale and Arm Dystonia Disability Scale (ADDS) at baseline and every follow up visit

- For subjects with FHD type musician s dystonia: Tubiana and Chamagne scale at every follow up visit

- For subjects with FHD type Writer s cramp: Writer s Cramp Impairment Scale

- Improvement on patient reported outcomes evaluated by the SF-12 Health Status Survey at baseline and at every follow up visit

- Intraoperatory electrophysiologic characteristics of the motor ventral thalamic neurons

- Neuropsychological evaluation at baseline, 3 and 12 months post DBS surgery

Study Design

Endpoint Classification: Safety/Efficacy Study, Intervention Model: Single Group Assignment, Masking: Open Label, Primary Purpose: Treatment




DBS surgery


National Institutes of Health Clinical Center
United States


Not yet recruiting


National Institutes of Health Clinical Center (CC)

Results (where available)

View Results


Published on BioPortfolio: 2016-09-22T21:08:21-0400

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Medical and Biotech [MESH] Definitions

Acquired and inherited conditions that feature DYSTONIA as a primary manifestation of disease. These disorders are generally divided into generalized dystonias (e.g., dystonia musculorum deformans) and focal dystonias (e.g., writer's cramp). They are also classified by patterns of inheritance and by age of onset.

An attitude or posture due to the co-contraction of agonists and antagonist muscles in one region of the body. It most often affects the large axial muscles of the trunk and limb girdles. Conditions which feature persistent or recurrent episodes of dystonia as a primary manifestation of disease are referred to as DYSTONIC DISORDERS. (Adams et al., Principles of Neurology, 6th ed, p77)

A condition characterized by focal DYSTONIA that progresses to involuntary spasmodic contractions of the muscles of the legs, trunk, arms, and face. The hands are often spared, however, sustained axial and limb contractions may lead to a state where the body is grossly contorted. Onset is usually in the first or second decade. Familial patterns of inheritance, primarily autosomal dominant with incomplete penetrance, have been identified. (Adams et al., Principles of Neurology, 6th ed, p1078)

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