UT Health San Antonio, University Health perform region’s first surgery for Alzheimer’s disease

Posted on: Tuesday, February 1st, 2022

The University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio (UT Health San Antonio) and clinical partner University Health are among 27 sites worldwide (18 in the U.S., one in Canada and eight in Germany) evaluating the effectiveness of a technique called deep brain stimulation (DBS) in treating patients with mild Alzheimer’s disease. DBS is an established, nonpharmaceutical treatment that researchers hope could slow or even halt the progress of this devastating disease.

A San Antonio woman in her 70s underwent South Texas’ first DBS surgery for Alzheimer’s — one of the first 300 surgeries of its kind in the world — at University Hospital on Nov. 5. Alexander Papanastassiou, MD, associate professor of neurosurgery at UT Health San Antonio who sees University Health patients, implanted DBS electrodes during the operation. The surgery is minimally invasive to enhance rapid recovery with the least pain, blood loss and hospital time.

Gabriel de Erausquin, MD, PhD, professor of neurology at UT Health San Antonio and researcher with the health science center’s Glenn Biggs Institute for Alzheimer’s and Neurodegenerative Diseases, confirmed the electrode location by testing the patient’s heart rate and blood pressure responses to stimulation while she was awake during the procedure. The test stimulation also evoked a memory as it sometimes does. The patient went home the next day and returned Nov. 18 for the planned second stage of surgery to implant the generator in the chest wall. She went home the same day, recovered well, and returned Dec. 3 for randomization and initial programming

To read the full article, visit UT Health San Antonio Newsroom.

Article Categories: News, Research