Post-Traumatic Tremor and Thalamic Deep Brain Stimulation: Evidence for Use of Diffusion Tensor Imaging.
Boccard SGJ., Rebelo P., Cheeran B., Green A., FitzGerald JJ., Aziz TZ.
BACKGROUND: Deep brain stimulation (DBS) is a well-established treatment to reduce tremor, notably in Parkinson disease. DBS may also be effective in post-traumatic tremor, one of the most common movement disorders caused by head injury. However, the cohorts of patients often have multiple lesions that may impact the outcome depending on which fiber tracts are affected. CASE DESCRIPTION: A 20-year-old man presented after road traffic accident with severe closed head injury and polytrauma. Computed tomography scan showed left frontal and basal ganglia hemorrhagic contusions and intraventricular hemorrhage. A disabling tremor evolved in step with motor recovery. Despite high-intensity signals in the intended thalamic target, a visual analysis of the preoperative diffusion tensor imaging revealed preservation of connectivity of the intended target, ventralis oralis posterior thalamic nucleus (VOP). This was confirmed by the postoperative tractography study presented here. DBS of the VOP/zona incerta was performed. Six months postimplant, marked improvement of action (postural, kinetic, and intention) tremor was achieved. CONCLUSIONS: We demonstrated a strong connectivity between the VOP and the superior frontal gyrus containing the premotor cortex and other central brain areas responsible for movement control. In spite of an existing lesion in the target, the preservation of these tracts may be relevant to the improvement of the patient's symptoms by DBS.