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Deep brain stimulation for obsessive-compulsive disorder: A systematic review of randomised controlled trials

Research output: Contribution to journalReview article

Petya Vicheva, Matthew Butler, Paul Shotbolt

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)129-138
Number of pages10
JournalNeuroscience and Biobehavioral Reviews
Publication statusPublished - 1 Feb 2020

King's Authors


Deep brain stimulation (DBS) is considered a promising intervention for treatment-resistant obsessive-compulsive disorder (trOCD). We conducted a systematic search to investigate the efficacy and safety of DBS for OCD. Primary outcomes included the Yale-Brown Obsessive-Compulsive Scale (Y-BOCS), adverse events (AE), and quality of life. We assessed affective state, global functioning, cognition, and tolerability as secondary outcomes. Eight studies comprising 80 patients with trOCD were analysed both individually and collectively. We found a pooled mean reduction in Y-BOCS of 38.68 %, indicating DBS could be considered an effective therapy for trOCD. Most AE were mild and transient, however there were five severe surgery-related AE: intracerebral haemorrhage in three patients and infection in two. Mood-related serious AE were one completed suicide, three suicide attempts in two patients, and suicidal thoughts and depression in four. Despite this, affective state improved following stimulation. Despite being limited by significant heterogeneity across studies, our review has shown DBS to be an effective treatment in otherwise trOCD. There is a need to standardise study methodology in future research.

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