Unchanged safety outcomes in deep brain stimulation surgery for Parkinson disease despite a decentralization of care: Clinical article

Robert A. McGovern, John P. Sheehy, Brad E. Zacharia, Andrew K. Chan, Blair Ford, Guy M. Mckhann

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

17 Scopus citations


Object. Early work on deep brain stimulation (DBS) surgery, when procedures were mostly carried out in a small number of high-volume centers, demonstrated a relationship between surgical volume and procedural safety. However, over the past decade, DBS has become more widely available in the community rather than solely at academic medical centers. The authors examined the Nationwide Inpatient Sample (NIS) to study the safety of DBS surgery for Parkinson disease (PD) in association with this change in practice patterns. Methods. The NIS is a stratified sample of 20% of all patient discharges from nonfederal hospitals in the United States. The authors identified patients with a primary diagnosis of PD (332.0) and a primary procedure code for implantation/ replacement of intracranial neurostimulator leads (02.93) who underwent surgery between 2002 and 2009. They analyzed outcomes using univariate and hierarchical, logistic regression analyses. Results. The total number of DBS cases remained stable from 2002 through 2009. Despite older and sicker patients undergoing DBS, procedural safety (rates of non-home discharges, complications) remained stable. Patients at low-volume hospitals were virtually indistinguishable from those at high-volume hospitals, except that patients at low-volume hospitals had slightly higher comorbidity scores (0.90 vs 0.75, p < 0.01). Complications, non-home discharges, length of hospital stay, and mortality rates did not significantly differ between low- and high-volume hospitals when accounting for hospital-related variables (caseload, teaching status, location). Conclusions. Prior investigations have demonstrated a robust volume-outcome relationship for a variety of surgical procedures. However, the present study supports safety of DBS at smaller-volume centers. Prospective studies are required to determine whether low-volume centers and higher-volume centers have similar DBS efficacy, a critical factor in determining whether DBS is comparable between centers.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1546-1555
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of neurosurgery
Issue number6
StatePublished - Dec 2013

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Surgery
  • Clinical Neurology


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