Computational modeling of an endovascular approach to deep brain stimulation

Benjamin A. Teplitzky, Allison T. Connolly, Jawad A. Bajwa, Matthew D. Johnson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

21 Scopus citations


Objective. Deep brain stimulation (DBS) therapy currently relies on a transcranial neurosurgical technique to implant one or more electrode leads into the brain parenchyma. In this study, we used computational modeling to investigate the feasibility of using an endovascular approach to target DBS therapy. Approach. Image-based anatomical reconstructions of the human brain and vasculature were used to identify 17 established and hypothesized anatomical targets of DBS, of which five were found adjacent to a vein or artery with intraluminal diameter ≥1 mm. Two of these targets, the fornix and subgenual cingulate white matter (SgCwm) tracts, were further investigated using a computational modeling framework that combined segmented volumes of the vascularized brain, finite element models of the tissue voltage during DBS, and multi-compartment axon models to predict the direct electrophysiological effects of endovascular DBS. Main results. The models showed that: (1) a ring-electrode conforming to the vessel wall was more efficient at neural activation than a guidewire design, (2) increasing the length of a ring-electrode had minimal effect on neural activation thresholds, (3) large variability in neural activation occurred with suboptimal placement of a ring-electrode along the targeted vessel, and (4) activation thresholds for the fornix and SgCwm tracts were comparable for endovascular and stereotactic DBS, though endovascular DBS was able to produce significantly larger contralateral activation for a unilateral implantation. Significance. Together, these results suggest that endovascular DBS can serve as a complementary approach to stereotactic DBS in select cases.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number026011
JournalJournal of neural engineering
Issue number2
StatePublished - Apr 2014


  • deep brain stimulation
  • electrode
  • modeling
  • neuromodulation
  • transvascular


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