Deep brain stimulation of the subthalamic nucleus in obsessive-compulsives disorders: long-term follow-up of an open, prospective, observational cohort.

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Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) is a major cause of disability in western country and responsible for severe impairment of quality of life. About 10% of patients present with severe OCD symptoms and require innovative treatment such as deep brain stimulation (DBS). Among possible targets, the non-motor subthalamic nucleus (STN) is a key node of the basal ganglia circuitry, strongly connected to limbic cortical areas known to be involved in OCD.We analysed, in a prospective, observational, monocentric, open label cohort, the effect of chronic non-motor STN-DBS in 19 patients with treatment-resistant OCD consecutively operated in a single centre. Severity of OCD was evaluated using the Yale and Brown Obsessive-Compulsive Scale (YBOCS). YBOCS scores at 6, 12 and 24 months postoperatively were compared with baseline. Responders were defined by >35% improvement of YBOCS scores. Global Assessment Functioning (GAF) scale was used to evaluate the impact of improvement.At a 24-month follow-up, the mean YBOCS score improved by 53.4% from 33.3±3.5 to 15.8±9.1 (95% CI 11.2-20.4; p<0.0001). Fourteen out of 19 patients were considered as responders, 5 out of 19 being improved over 75% and 10 out of 19 over 50%. GAF scale improved by 92% from 34.1±3.9 to 66.4±18.8 (95% CI 56.7-76.1; p=0.0003). The most frequent adverse events consisted of transient DBS-induced hypomania and anxiety.Chronic DBS of the non-motor STN is an effective and relatively safe procedure to treat severe OCD resistant to conventional management.

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