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.