Revolutionary remote programming deep brain stimulation at the Department of Neurology

10 November 2022

The University of Pécs Clinical Centre, Department of Neurology and Neurosurgery has established a system allowing remote programming from patients suffering from chronic pain or motor function issues treated with neuromodulation therapy; this is a first in Central-Easter Europe and a first in the country. The treatment can improve tremors caused by Parkinson’s disease and dystonia.

The leadership of Abbott company has awarded the “Deep brain stimulation excellence centre” award to the University of Pécs Clinical Centre, Department of Neurology and Neurosurgery for their outstanding work in deep brain stimulation therapy. This is the highest recognition a European centre can get. The award was handed over to professor dr. Norbert Kovács and dr. István Balás docent on November 9 in Pécs by Abbott’s sales director for the European market.

Parkinson’s disease is the second most common diagnosis of neurological degeneration, and its occurrence has doubled in the past 20 years. Parkinson’s, causing slowness, clumsiness and periodic tremors, appears more and more often in the younger, still working generation, which can lead to early retirement. Deep brain stimulation can give patients who no longer feel the benefits of combined medical treatment an increase in life quality. The treatment can help retain the ability to work aside from preserving and improving the quality of life.

Dr. Norbert Kovács, professor at the Department of Neurology has said about the treatment: “During deep brain stimulation treatment, a brain pacemaker (a so-called stimulator) will use electrical current to normalise brain functions, resulting in an improvement in tremors caused by Parkinson’s disease or dystonia. Deep brain stimulation is a safe treatment method that can be used from the age of seven in children.”

Over 500 patients, many of them children have received deep brain stimulation treatment at the University of Pécs since 2001. The periodic programming and monitoring of the stimulator was only possible in person so far, which for patients living far from the clinic meant a significant problem and travel.

The newly implemented NeuroSphere™ Virtual Clinic is the first solution of its kind that allows patients with Abbott stimulators to consult with their doctor without the need for personal presence, over a secure internet connection. With the help of video-based programming, doctors can remotely assess the state of their patients and the function of the stimulator, and they can even make changes to the stimulator if needed. The new Virtual Clinic is not only useful for deep brain stimulation, but also monitoring and remote programming spinal cord stimulation for chronic pain. The aim of the development is to improve care of recipient of deep brain or spinal cord stimulation treatment who either live far from the clinic or cannot visit their doctor in person due to outside circumstances – like the COVID-19 pandemic.



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