Objective. Motor cortex stimulation (MCS) is increasingly being utilized for the treatment of intractable pain. While the risks of MCS are relatively low, focal or generalized seizures may be produced during programming of MCS systems. Occasionally, patients may experience seizures hours after programming. In order to understand this phenomenon better, we undertook a retrospective analysis of five patients in whom seizures limited the efficacy of MCS. Methods. A retrospective chart review was performed in five patients who underwent MCS between 2002 and 2006 and who had persistent seizures that limited programming. Results. The initial seizure during programming in these patients occurred at amplitudes of between 4.8 and 6.6 V. Four patients experienced generalized tonic-clonic seizures and one patient experienced focal seizures. Subsequent seizures occurred at amplitudes of between 4.4 and 5.5 V, with a tendency for seizure thresholds to progressively decrease. All five patients experienced at least one seizure occurring many minutes to hours after programming, with no side-effects initially observed once the final settings had been programmed. Four out of five patients were programmed with frequencies documented at between 70 and 90 Hz; documentation on frequency was unavailable for the remaining patient. One patient never achieved adequate pain relief and had the MCS system explanted. Conclusions. Despite the overall safety of MCS for the treatment of chronic pain, seizures during and after programming are a serious risk that should be anticipated. In this group of patients, seizures were associated only with stimulus rates between 70 and 90 Hz. No patient developed chronic epilepsy from the stimulation.
View details for DOI 10.1111/j.1525-1403.2009.00256.x
View details for Web of Science ID 000273318200016
View details for PubMedID 21992763