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BACKGROUND: Directional Deep Brain Stimulation (D-DBS) allows axially asymmetric electrical field shaping, away from structures causing side-effects. However, concerns regarding the impact on device lifespan and complexity of the monopolar survey have contributed to sparing use of these features. OBJECTIVE: To investigate whether chronically implanted D-DBS systems can improve the therapeutic window, without a negative impact on device lifespan, in thalamic deep brain stimulation (DBS). METHODS: We evaluated stable outcomes of initial programming sessions (4-6 weeks post-implantation) retrospectively in 8 patients with drug-resistant disabling tremor syndromes. We assessed the impact of directional stimulation on the Therapeutic Window (TW), Therapeutic Current Strength (TCS), tremor scores, disability scores and total electrical energy delivered. Finally, we performed Volume of Tissue Activation (VTA) modelling, based on a range of parameters. RESULTS: We report significant gains in TW (91%) and reductions in TCS (31%) with stimulation in the best direction compared to best omnidirectional stimulation alternative. Tremor and ADL scores improvements remained unchanged at six months. There was no increase in averaged IPG power consumption (there is a 6% reduction over the omnidirectional-only alternative). Illustrative VTA modelling shows that D-DBS achieves 85% of the total activation volume at just 69% of the stimulation amplitude of non-directional configuration. CONCLUSIONS: D-DBS can improve the therapeutic window over non-directional DBS, leading to significant reduction in disability that may be sustained without additional reprogramming visits. When averaged across the cohort, power output and predicted device lifespan was not impacted by the use of directional stimulation in this study.

Original publication




Journal article


Brain Stimul

Publication Date





600 - 606


Current steering, Directional Deep Brain Stimulation, Tremor