Abbott's DBS System: Music Plays On

Abbott's revolutionary system is allowing people to hit the high notes of their lives again.

Pain and Movement|Nov.01, 2017

A child sits at the piano, mashing keys.

It's an effective method in making the instrument do something, anything. It's just not music. Not yet.

Later, after years of learning and practice, that same child sits at the piano. They mash some keys. They delicately touch others. They do so with precision and artistry, the piano pouring forth the beautiful music it was intended for.

That understanding — making a machine play the right way at the right time — is where Abbott has gone with our cutting-edge, industry-leading St. Jude Medical Infinity™ DBS System

Abbott’s deep brain stimulation (DBS) system for the management of Parkinson’s disease and essential tremor is the first available in the U.S. today with directional leads consisting of eight electrodes, of which two are segmented. Any segment of can be switched on and off as needed to direct therapy effectively.  

With this capability, doctors can more accurately steer electrical current toward targeted areas of the brain to lessen symptoms such as tremors.

The results can be life changing.

Think of the signals in your brain as a concerto. Today, it's Tchaikovsky. Tomorrow, maybe it's Mozart. Chopin the next day. With help from your doctor's orchestration, you choose the stimulation best suited for you.

Each electrode can be switched on — and off — through your doctor's iPad™, and stimulation can be increased or decreased by your iPod™. By incorporating an iPod into the system's operation, we're empowering people living with Parkinson's and essential tremor through a familiar, easy interface that carries with it none of the stigmas of previous systems.

"The wireless technology offers a massive benefit in treatment because you can program leads while patients complete activities, which is important in Parkinson's," said Dr. Allen Burton, medical director of neuromodulation at Abbott. "If desired, therapy tweaks can be made as they walk, allowing doctors to watch their gait from across the room, for example."

Anyone living with or caring for someone with Parkinson’s or essential tremor understands the good days and the not good days. They also have first-hand experience when medications begin to lose their effectiveness, when the music stops.

With St. Jude Medical Infinity™ DBS System, people are hitting the high notes of their lives again. Encore, encore.



As with any surgery or therapy, deep brain stimulation has risks and complications. The risk of serious side effects from DBS is low, particularly with an experienced surgical team. Most side effects of DBS surgery are temporary and correct themselves over time. Some people may experience lasting, stroke-like symptoms, such as weakness, numbness, problems with vision or slurred speech. In the event that the side effects are intolerable or you are not satisfied with the therapy, the DBS system can be turned off or surgically removed.

Risks of brain surgery include serious complications such as coma, bleeding inside the brain, paralysis, seizures and infection. Some of these may be fatal.


Bilateral stimulation of the subthalamic nucleus (STN) as an adjunctive therapy to reduce some of the symptoms of advanced levodopa-responsive Parkinson’s disease that are not adequately controlled by medications, and unilateral or bilateral stimulation of the ventral intermediate nucleus (VIM) of the thalamus for the suppression of disabling upper extremity tremor in adult essential tremor patients whose tremor is not adequately controlled by medications and where the tremor constitutes a significant functional disability. Contraindications: Patients who are unable to operate the system or for whom test stimulation is unsuccessful. Diathermy, electroshock therapy, and transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) are contraindicated for patients with a deep brain stimulation system. Warnings/Precautions: Return of symptoms due to abrupt cessation of stimulation (rebound effect), excessive or low frequency stimulation, risk of depression and suicide, implanted cardiac systems or other active implantable devices, magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), electromagnetic interference (EMI), proximity to electrosurgery devices and high-output ultrasonics and lithotripsy, ultrasonic scanning equipment, external defibrillators, and therapeutic radiation, therapeutic magnets, radiofrequency sources, explosive or flammable gases, theft detectors and metal screening devices, activities requiring excessive twisting or stretching, operation of machinery and equipment, pregnancy, and case damage. Patients who are poor surgical risks, with multiple illnesses, or with active general infections should not be implanted. Adverse Effects: Loss of therapeutic benefit or decreased therapeutic response, painful stimulation, persistent pain around the implanted parts (e.g. along the extension path in the neck), worsening of motor impairment, paresis, dystonia, sensory disturbance or impairment, speech or language impairment, and cognitive impairment. Surgical risks include intracranial hemorrhage, stroke, paralysis, and death. Other complications may include seizures and infection. Clinician’s manual must be reviewed for detailed disclosure.

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