Drowning hazard with deep brain stimulation: Case report

Omar K. Bangash, M. Thorburn, J. Garcia-Vega, S. Walters, R. Stell, Sergio E. Starkstein, Christopher R.P. Lind

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    4 Citations (Scopus)


    © AANS, 2016.The caudal zona incerta target within the posterior subthalamic area is an investigational site for deep brain stimulation (DBS) in Parkinson disease (PD) and tremor. The authors report on a patient with tremor-predominant PD who, despite excellent tremor control and an otherwise normal neurological examination, exhibited profound difficulty swimming during stimulation. Over the last 20 years, anecdotal reports have been received of 3 other patients with PD who underwent thalamic or pallidal lesioning or DBS surgery performed at the authors' center and subsequently drowned. It may be that DBS puts patients at risk for drowning by specifically impairing their ability to swim. Until this finding can be further examined in larger cohorts, patients should be warned to swim under close supervision soon after DBS surgery.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)1513-1516
    Number of pages4
    JournalJournal of Neurosurgery
    Issue number5
    Publication statusPublished - 2016


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