First European implants of St Jude Medical's deep brain stimulation
system for Parkinson’s Disease
27 March 2009
St. Jude Medical, Inc. (NYSE:STJ) has announced the first patient
implants of its Libra deep brain stimulation (DBS) system for treating
the symptoms of Parkinson’s disease, a progressive neurological disorder
that affects a person's control over his or her movements and speech.
The announcement was made at the European Association of
Neurosurgical Societies and the Société Française de Neurochirugie joint
annual meeting in Marseille, France.
“We have initiated a limited launch of these systems in Europe and
have recently completed implants in Austria, Germany and Greece,” said
Chris Chavez, president of the St Jude Medical Neuromodulation Division.
“We look forward to expanding the availability of these systems in order
to help physicians meet the needs of their patients.”
First implants were performed by Professor François Alesch, MD, at
the Medical University of Vienna, Vienna Austria, Professor Jan Vesper,
MD, at the University of Düsseldorf, Düsseldorf, Germany, and Professor
Damianos Sakas, MD, at the Evangelismos General Hospital, Athens,
“Deep brain stimulation is a safe surgical treatment for advanced
Parkinson’s disease,” said Dr Alesch, a professor of Stereotactic and
Functional Neurosurgery at the Medical University of Vienna. “The
availability of the Libra DBS systems allows us to choose the system
that best meets the needs of the individual patient.”
The European Parkinson’s Disease Association estimates that
Parkinson’s disease affects approximately 6.3 million people worldwide.
The disease usually develops in people between the ages of 40 and 70,
with an average age of onset of 60 years. Parkinson's disease affects
both men and women in almost equal numbers.
“In properly selected patients, deep brain stimulation therapy can
provide extremely good results,” said Professor Alfons Schnitzler, MD,
at the University of Düsseldorf. “For these patients, DBS may reduce
akinesia, rigidity, tremor and levodopa-induced motor complications
resulting in a significant improvement in their quality of life.”
Libra and LibraXP neurostimulators are constant current devices and
feature the high battery capacity, which may maximize the time between
device replacement procedures. The systems consist of a neurostimulator
— a surgically implanted battery operated device that generates mild
electrical pulses — and leads which carry the pulses to a targeted area
in the brain.
The system functions in a manner similar to a cardiac pacemaker by
influencing the irregular nerve signals responsible for the symptoms of
Parkinson’s disease. This therapy can be non-invasively adjusted by a
clinician to meet individual patient needs.
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