Effect of deep brain stimulation on swimming performance


  • Most patients do not experience swimming impairment with deep brain stimulation (DBS); however, impairment does occur in rare cases and patients with DBS should be made aware of this drowning risk.

Why this matters

  • DBS is an established treatment for movement disorders. Previous reports identified patients with DBS who experienced significant swimming impairment and was at risk of drowning when DBS was switched on.

  • Although swimming impairment with DBS appears to be rare, physicians should warn patients undergoing DBS of the risk associated with swimming, which should be mitigated with appropriate supervision in a low-risk environment.