Longitudinal impedance variability in patients with chronically implanted DBS devices

Tyler Cheung, Miriam A Nuno, Matilde Hoffman, Maya Katz, Camilla Kilbane, Ron Alterman, Michele Tagliati

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

44 Scopus citations


Background: Deep brain stimulation (DBS) is an effective therapy for advanced movement disorders, but its optimal use is still controversial. One factor that could play a role in the proper delivery of therapeutic stimulation by current DBS devices is the variability of the impedance at the interface between the electrode surface and surrounding tissue. Objective: To analyze variability and trends in the impedance of chronically-implanted DBS electrodes in subjects with movement disorders. Methods: We reviewed impedance values from medical records of DBS patients at an academic tertiary-care movement disorders center. The standard deviation of data recorded within individual subjects and single contacts were used as measures of longitudinal impedance variability. A generalized linear mixed model (GLMM) determined if a number of effects had significant influences on impedance. Results: We analyzed 2863 impedance measurements from 94 subjects. Median variability, for subjects with follow-up from 6 months to 5 years (n = 77), was 194 Ω for individual subjects and 141 Ω for individual contacts, with a range spanning from 18 to over 600 Ω. The GLMM, incorporating all subjects (n = 94), identified time, electrical activity, implanted target, contact position on the electrode and side of implantation as significant predictors of impedance. Age and disease duration at surgery, gender or ethnicity were not significant predictors. Conclusions: Our analysis suggests that a significant amount of impedance variability can be expected in chronically implanted DBS electrodes and indicates a number of factors with possible predictive value. Further studies are needed to link impedance characteristics to clinical outcomes.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)746-751
Number of pages6
JournalBrain Stimulation
Issue number5
StatePublished - Sep 1 2013
Externally publishedYes


  • Deep brain stimulation
  • Globus pallidus
  • Impedance
  • Movement disorders
  • Subthalamic nucleus

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Neurology
  • Neuroscience(all)
  • Biophysics


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