Referring Parkinson's disease patients for deep brain stimulation: a RAND/UCLA appropriateness study

Elena Moro, Michael Schüpbach, Tobias Wächter, Niels Allert, Roberto Eleopra, Christopher R Honey, Mauricio Rueda, Mya C Schiess, Yasushi Shimo, Peter Valkovic, Alan Whone, Herman Stoevelaar

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)peer-review

20 Citations (Scopus)


In 2005, a European expert panel developed and validated an electronic tool to support the appropriate referral of patients with Parkinson's disease (PD) for the consideration of deep brain stimulation (DBS). Since new evidence has become available over the last decade an update of the tool is necessary. A world-wide expert panel (71 neurologists and 11 neurosurgeons) used the RAND/UCLA Appropriateness Method to assess the appropriateness of referral for 1296 scenarios (9-point scale). Scenarios were permutations of 8 clinical variables relevant to the decision of referral. Appropriateness of referral was calculated on the basis of the median score and the extent of agreement. Compared to 2005, the impact of clinical variables on the appropriateness of referral was similar for severity of on-off fluctuations, dyskinesias and refractory tremor (positive association, p < 0.001), and cognitive impairment (negative association, p < 0.001). A relatively stronger negative impact was seen for levodopa-unresponsive gait and balance disturbances as well as older age, the latter most likely due to a higher cut-off value (75 versus 70 years in the previous study). The impact of PD duration on the appropriateness of referral was less pronounced than in 2005. The contribution of the newly included variable 'non-motor side effects of anti-PD medication' was very modest. Based on these results the panel produced new recommendations on the appropriateness of referral for the evaluation of DBS in PD patients. Differences from the previous study reflect the new clinical evidence, particularly related to the use of DBS in an earlier stage of PD. The validation of the updated recommendations is in progress.

Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Neurology
Publication statusPublished - 3 Nov 2015


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