Background: Deep brain stimulation (DBS) has been shown to be effective for parkinsonian symptoms poorly responsive to medications. DBS is typically well-tolerated, as are the maintenance battery changes. Here we describe an adverse event during a battery replacement procedure that caused rapid onset of severe depression.

Case Presentation: The patient is a 58-year-old woman who was in a serious motor vehicle accident and sustained a concussion with loss of consciousness. Within weeks of the accident she began developing parkinsonian symptoms that progressively worsened over the subsequent 10 years. Responding poorly to medications, she received DBS, which controlled her movement symptoms. Five years after initiating DBS, during a routine battery change, an apparent electrical event occurred that triggered the rapid onset of severe depression. Anti-seizure and antidepressant medications were ineffective, and the patient was offered a course of electroconvulsive therapy (ECT), which resulted in complete reversal of her depressive episode.

Conclusion: Parkinson's syndrome can be seen after a single closed head injury event. Post-traumatic parkinsonism is responsive to DBS; however, DBS has been associated with an infrequent occurrence of dramatic disruption in mood. ECT is a therapeutic option for patients who develop intractable depressive illness associated with DBS.

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Published in BMC Psychiatry, v. 16, 399, p. 1-6.

© The Author(s). 2016

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