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Research paper
Deep brain stimulation for obsessive–compulsive disorders: long-term analysis of quality of life
  1. Pieter Ooms1,
  2. Mariska Mantione1,
  3. Martijn Figee1,
  4. P Richard Schuurman2,
  5. Pepijn van den Munckhof2,
  6. Damiaan Denys1,3
  1. 1Department of Psychiatry, Academic Medical Center, University of Amsterdam, Amsterdam, The Netherlands
  2. 2Department of Neurosurgery, Academic Medical Center, University of Amsterdam, Amsterdam, The Netherlands
  3. 3Netherlands Institute for Neuroscience, an institute of the Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences, Amsterdam, The Netherlands
  1. Correspondence to Pieter Ooms, Department of Psychiatry, Academic Medical Center, University of Amsterdam, Meibergdreef 5, Amsterdam 1070 AW, The Netherlands; p.ooms{at}


Objective To evaluate the long-term effects of deep brain stimulation (DBS) on quality of life (QOL) in therapy-refractory obsessive–compulsive disorder (OCD) patients.

Design 16 patients who met Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (4th ed) (DSM-IV) criteria for OCD and were considered therapy-refractory were treated with DBS. Patients were assessed 1 month before device implantation (T0), at 8 months of active stimulation (T1) and at 3–5 years of active stimulation (T2). QOL was measured with the WHO Quality of Life Scale-Brief Version (WHOQOL-BREF) that covers physical, psychological, social and environmental domains. The study was conducted between April 2005 and January 2011 at the Academic Medical Center, Amsterdam, The Netherlands.

Results At T1 and T2, we found significant improvement (p<0.05) in the general score and in the physical, psychological and environmental domains of WHOQOL-BREF. Between T1 and T2, the physical and psychological domains improved further (p<0.05). At T2, the general score improved by a total of 90%, the physical and psychological domains both improved by 39.5% and the environmental domain improved by 16%. The social domain did not change between baseline and follow-up assessments.

Conclusions In line with symptom improvement, patient's QOL improved in the general score and in three of the four WHOQOL-BREF domains. This suggests that the improvement caused by DBS is not limited to symptom reduction alone, but also has a positive influence on patients’ perception of their physical, psychological, environmental and global QOL.

Clinical trial registration identifier: ISRCTN23255677.

  • Quality Of Life
  • Neurosurgery
  • Psychiatry

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