Parkinson’s: New, App-Controlled Deep Brain Stimulation Technology

Abbott Infinity DBS System.
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Hartford HealthCare is the first in Connecticut and among the first in New England to offer the most advanced Deep Brain Stimulation technology for patients with Parkinson’s disease and essential tremor.

Dr. Patrick Senatus, Neurosurgery Director at the Chase Family Movement Disorders Center at the Hartford HealthCare Ayer Neuroscience Institute, became one of the first in New England to implant the Abbott Infinity Deep Brain Stimulation (DBS) System on Feb. 8. The technology allows for more targeted treatment and reduces potential side effects.

DBS is a surgical procedure in which wires are connected from the brain to a pacemaker-like battery pack implanted in the chest. DBS is not a cure for movement disorders, but it can dramatically decrease symptoms, restore mobility and improve patients’ quality of life.

Abbott’s DBS system is the first in the U.S. to feature a directional lead designed to precisely customize therapy that may maximize patient outcomes and reduce side effects. The lead offers eight independent electrode segments through which physicians can precisely steer electrical current toward structures of the brain that control movement.

“The technology we’ve used in the past can be limited in that it stimulates an entire contiguous field within the brain including areas we sometimes may not want to stimulate. This can cause unwanted effects such as slurred speech, tingling in the hands, twitching of muscles or double vision,” says Chase Family Movement Disorders Medical Director Dr. Joy Antonelle de Marcaida. “The Abbott DBS system potentially decreases the likelihood of that because we can direct stimulation in a more focused manner.”

The system is also the world’s only DBS system operating on a Bluetooth iOS software platform. Clinicians can streamline the programming process by using the software platform on an iPad Mini mobile device. Patients can manage their symptoms with their Abbott Infinity DBS System iPod Touch mobile digital device controller.

“With the original system the physician was always knee to knee with the patient during programming because there was a wire attached. The new system is more in keeping with modern technology. Patients are more comfortable with it. They can change some of the parameters discretely on their own with the provided iPod Touch device, such as increasing or decreasing voltage or turning the stimulator on or off if need be,” de Marcaida says.

The Chase Family Movement Disorders Center has locations in Vernon, Cheshire and Meriden.

“Being first in Connecticut and surrounding states to utilize the Abbott system is another example that the Chase Family Movement Disorders Center is truly a cutting edge destination program with its early adoption of new technologies, interventions, medications and involvement in clinical research that improve outcomes for our patients,” says de Marcaida.

Patients who have essential tremor or Parkinson’s disease with symptoms that are not optimally controlled by medications are candidates for DBS surgery, and can receive treatment with the Abbott System through the Hartford HealthCare Chase Family Movement Disorders Center.

For information on deep brain stimulation and the new Abbott Infinity system, click here.


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