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Neurology world first at Evelina London

A two-year-old girl has become the youngest child in the world to undergo deep brain stimulation (DBS), to treat severe, uncontrolled and painful muscle movements.

The patient suffers from a condition called ‘dystonia’, which can be caused by inherited genetic problems, cerebral palsy or other brain injuries. At its worst, the condition prevented the young patient from eating and affected her breathing, meaning she spent five months in the paediatric intensive care unit in her home city of Glasgow. She was eventually diagnosed with a rare mutation in the GNAO1 gene and was referred to neurologists at Evelina London who recommended deep brain stimulation (DBS).

Dr Jean Pierre Lin, consultant paediatric neurologist for the Complex Motor Disorders Service at Evelina London, coordinated the treatment and worked jointly with Mr Richard Selway, consultant neurosurgeon at King’s College Hospital. The procedure was carried out together with a newly established anaesthetic and theatre team at Evelina London working with Professor Sameer Zuberi and his colleagues from the Royal Hospital for Children, Glasgow.

DBS involves electrodes being implanted into the deep areas of the brain that control movement. The electrodes connect to a pacemaker under the skin of the abdomen. The operation, which used state of the art robotic and intraoperative imaging equipment, took four and a half hours. The operation has previously been performed on older children at King’s College Hospital in London jointly with Evelina London’s paediatric neurology team. The two teams work collaboratively together, sharing expertise.

Read the full story at Evelina London Children’s Hospital