Background: Data on pediatric DBS is still limited because of small numbers in single center series and lack of systematic multi-center trials. Objectives: We evaluate short- and long-term adverse events (AEs) of patients undergoing deep brain stimulation (DBS) during childhood and adolescence. Methods: Data collected by the German registry on pediatric DBS (GEPESTIM) were analyzed according to reversible and irreversible AEs and time of occurrence with relation to DBS-surgery: Intraoperative, perioperative (<4 weeks), postoperative (4 weeks < 6 months) and long term AEs (>6 months). Results: 72 patients with childhood-onset dystonia from 10 DBS-centers, who received 173 DBS electrodes and 141 implantable pulse generators (IPG), were included in the registry. Mean time of postoperative follow-up was 4.6 ± 4 years. In total, 184 AEs were documented in 53 patients (73.6%). 52 DBS-related AEs in 26 patients (36.1%) required 45 subsequent surgical interventions 4.7 ± 4.1 years (range 3 months–15 years) after initial implantation. The total risk of an AE requiring surgical intervention was 7.9% per electrode-year. Hardware-related AEs were the most common reason for surgery. There was a tendency of a higher rate of AEs in patients aged 7–9 years beyond 6 months after implantation. Discussion: The intraoperative risk of AEs in pediatric patients with dystonia undergoing DBS is very low, whereas the rate of postoperative hardware-related AEs is a prominent feature with a higher occurrence compared to adults, especially on long-term follow-up. Conclusion: Factors leading to such AEs must be identified and patient management has to be focused on risk minimization strategies in order to improve DBS therapy and maximize outcome in pediatric patients.

Original languageEnglish
JournalBrain Stimulation
Issue number5
Pages (from-to)1111-1120
Number of pages10
Publication statusPublished - 01.09.2019

Research Areas and Centers

  • Academic Focus: Center for Brain, Behavior and Metabolism (CBBM)


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