June 14, 2016 — Deep brain stimulation devices have been linked to reports of patients losing muscle coordination, which could be life-threatening in situations like swimming.
A case report published in the Journal of Neurosurgery describes a patient in Australia who lost coordination in the water and was unable to swim during deep brain stimulation therapy, despite being an experienced swimmer.
When the device was turned off, the patient’s coordination improved and he was able to swim again.
Over the last 20 years, there have been at least three reports of patients with Parkinson’s disease who drowned after undergoing deep brain stimulation therapy.
Health officials in Australia recommend closely watching patients during any potentially hazardous activities requiring coordination.
Deep brain stimulators are devices that deliver electrical signals to the brain. They are used to treat symptoms of epilepsy, Parkinson’s disease, movement disorders, and other conditions.
Medtronic has issued warnings about a number of life-threatening side effects, including pain, infection, numbness, intracranial hemorrhage, cardiovascular events, vision problems, incoordination, headaches, seizures, shocking, and more.
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