Blomstedt P, Sjöberg RL, Hansson M, Bodlund O, Hariz MI. Deep brain stimulation in the treatment of depression.
Objective: To present the technique of deep brain stimulation (DBS) and to evaluate the studies conducted on DBS in the treatment of therapy-refractory major depressive disorder (MDD).
Method: A review of the literature on DBS in the treatment of MDD was conducted.
Results: The results of DBS in MDD have been presented in 2 case reports and 3 studies of 47 patients operated upon in 5 different target areas. Positive effects have been presented in all studies and side effects have been minor. DBS in the nucleus accumbens resulted in a mean reduction of Hamilton depression rating scale (HDRS) of 36% after 1 year and 30% of the 10 patients achieved remission. DBS in the internal capsule/ventral striatum resulted in a reduction of 44% after 1 year, and at the last evaluation after in mean 2 years, 40% of the 15 patients were in remission. The 20 patients with subcallosal cingulated gyrus DBS had a reduction of HDRS of 52% after 1 year, and 35% were within 1 point from remission or in remission.
Conclusion: DBS is a promising treatment for therapy-refractory MDD. The published experience is, however, limited, and the method is at present an experimental therapy.