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Year : 2011  |  Volume : 2  |  Issue : 1  |  Page : 131

The importance of testing deep brain stimulation lead impedances before final lead implantation

1 Departments of Neurosurgery, Neurology and Molecular and Integrative Physiology, University of Kansas Medical Center, Kansas City, KS, USA
2 Department of Neurology, University of Kansas Medical Center, Kansas City, KS, USA

Correspondence Address:
Jules M Nazzaro
Departments of Neurosurgery, Neurology and Molecular and Integrative Physiology, University of Kansas Medical Center, Kansas City, KS
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© 2011 Nazzaro et al; This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

DOI: 10.4103/2152-7806.85473

PMID: 22059126

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Background : In the setting of a deep brain stimulation (DBS) lead with defective electrical circuitry, potential patient morbidity and additional surgery may be avoided if impedance testing of the brain lead is performed prior to final lead implantation. In the present report, detection of a short circuit upon lead placement and prior to lead anchoring was detected utilizing recently released DBS hardware and software (Medtronic, Minneapolis, MN). This report suggests that neurosurgeons need to be aware and consider the use of the newly available DBS testing equipment. Methods : During the first DBS lead placement in a 69-year-old man with advanced idiopathic Parkinson's disease undergoing bilateral subthalamic nucleus DBS over staged procedures, test stimulation and lead impedance testing were accomplished prior to lead anchoring. An external neurostimulator (ENS) was affixed to an updated clinician programmer and connected to the DBS lead with a screening cable specific for the ENS and DBS. Results : Impedance testing demonstrated a short circuit involving the 1 and 3 lead-electrode bipolar combination in a visually intact lead. The lead was replaced, repeat impedance testing and test stimulation were completed and the intact lead was secured. Subsequent DBS surgeries were completed uneventfully. The lead abnormality was verified by the manufacturer. Conclusions : This case highlights a new method to test DBS lead circuitry at the time of placement. The method may also be employed to directly test lead integrity when localizing a DBS system short or open circuit of unclear etiology. Our case suggests that the method is valuable and should be utilized.



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