Surgical therapy for tremor in multiple sclerosis: An evaluation of outcome measures

Joseph Matsumoto, D. Morrow, K. Kaufman, D. Davis, J. E. Ahlskog, A. Walker, D. Sneve, J. Noseworthy, M. Rodriguez

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

41 Scopus citations


Objective: To assess the reliability, validity, and sensitivity of outcome measures that might be used in a clinical trial of surgery for the treatment of severe tremor associated with MS (MS tremor). Methods: Nine patients with MS tremor were evaluated before and 3 and 12 months after thalamic surgery (six thalamotomy, three deep brain stimulation). A clinical tremor rating scale (CTRS), a novel quantitative movement analysis technique (QMA), and a variety of measures of disability, neurologic impairment, and quality of life was utilized. Results: Both the CTRS and QMA were reliable measures of tremor and both were sensitive to the improvement in tremor following surgery. However, QMA correlated with disability measures and corresponded better to patient and examiner assessment of surgical results. The disability scales used were insensitive to functional improvements that may follow surgery. The box and blocks test clearly separated three patients who had excellent results from three who had poor results. Baseline QMA values predicted improvement on the box and blocks test. Conclusions: 1) QMA is a reliable, objective and valid measure of MS tremor that could be used in a clinical trial. 2) The box and blocks test can detect the improvement in prehensile function that follows surgery, but standard disability scales are poorly responsive to this change. 3) Preoperative QMA values may predict which patients are most amenable to functional improvement after surgery.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1876-1882
Number of pages7
Issue number10
StatePublished - Nov 27 2001

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Neurology


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