Swallowing function in Parkinson’s patients following Zona Incerta deep brain stimulation.

Acta Neurol Scand. 2012 Nov;126(5):350-6. doi: 10.1111/j.1600-0404.2012.01658.x. Epub 2012 Mar 4


Division of Speech and Language Pathology, Department of Clinical Sciences, Umeå University, Umeå, Sweden. stina.sundstedt@gmail.com



The purpose of the present study was to examine whether there was a negative effect of caudal Zona Incerta deep brain stimulation (cZI DBS) on pharyngeal swallowing function in Parkinson’s patients (PD). There are no former reports including swallowing and cZI DBS.


Eight patients (aged 49-71 years; median 62) were evaluated pre- and post-operatively, at 6 and 12 months after DBS surgery. Evaluation tools were fiberoptic endoscopic evaluation of swallowing examinations and patients’ self-assessments of their swallowing function including a visual analog scale and quality-of-life-related questions. The swallowing protocol included Rosenbek’s Penetration-Aspiration Scale, Secretion Severity Scale and parameters for preswallow spillage, pharyngeal residue, and pharyngeal clearance.


There was no clear-cut effect of neurostimulation post-operatively at 6 and 12 months on any of the swallowing parameters except for the preswallow spillage that was slightly worsened in the stimulation on condition 12 months post-operatively. The answers to the self assessment questions did not vary significantly.


The effect of the stimulation on the swallowing function varied among individuals, but the overall outcome was that cZI DBS did not seem to have a negative influence on swallowing function in the eight patients studied.

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