Acute ischemic stroke during deep brain stimulation surgery of globus pallidus internus: Report of 5 cases

Angela E. Downes, Patrick Pezeshkian, Eric Behnke, Yvette Bordelon, Michele Tagliati, Adam Mamelak, Nader Pouratian

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Scopus citations


BACKGROUND: Cerebrovascular accident (CVA) is a potentially devastating complication of deep brain stimulation (DBS) surgery. Although there are substantial data reporting the incidence and cause of hemorrhagic CVA, reports of acute ischemic infarctions during DBS implantation surgery are rare. OBJECTIVE: To present a series of 5 patients who experienced clinically significant ischemic CVA during microelectrode-guided globus pallidus internus (GPi) DBS, and evaluate the potential risk factors and mechanisms. METHODS: A retrospective analysis of GPi DBS surgeries performed between June 2010 and February 2015 at UCLA Medical Center and June 2010 and February 2014 at Cedars- Sinai Medical Centers was performed to identify stroke risk factors. Statistical analysis was performed, comparing the stroke group with all patients undergoing GPi DBS. RESULTS: All 5 patients developed acute onset of lethargy, dysarthria, and contralateral facial and/or hemibody weakness intraoperatively. Computed tomographic scans in all cases were negative for hemorrhage. Magnetic resonance images obtained in 3 patients revealed infarction in the posterior limb of the internal capsule. During the time period analyzed, a total of 234 GPi leads were placed in 129 patients, yielding a 2.14% rate of ischemic stroke per lead. No statistically significant risk factors were identified in the stroke group. Given the variability of symptom onset during surgery, the mechanism is not clear, but it could be related to compression, compromise, or vasospasm of lenticulostriate arteries and/or anterior choroidal branches near the GPi target. CONCLUSION: Ischemic stroke in GPi DBS is a significant complication for clinicians to be aware of and discuss with their patients preoperatively.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)383-390
Number of pages8
JournalOperative Neurosurgery
Issue number4
StatePublished - 2016
Externally publishedYes


  • Complications
  • Deep brain stimulation
  • Globus pallidus internus
  • Ischemia
  • Stroke

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Clinical Neurology


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