HIFU (High-Intensity Focal Ultrasound) has been suggested as a possible treatment for essential tremor. It includes concentrating high-intensity energy on a particular target inside the body. Thermal or mechanical interruption of the tissue is given at the focal intersection point.
The Basque Office for Health Technology Assessment (OSTEBA) has developed an HTA report on HIFU in the treatment of essential tremor. They have performed a search of the literature in various databases that include primary, secondary and applied research studies, in order to extract systematic reviews, clinical trials or clinical practice guidelines that have analyzed the HIFU technique. Economic analyses and expert opinions have not been included.
Altogether, three studies were included into the report (176 patients in total). OSTEBA has concluded that this technique is not being compared to the methods in current practice, which is a significant drawback of the studies included. One study (n=25) has demonstrated an average reduction of 40% of the tremor score three months after the surgery, while another study showed a decrease of 80%. Nevertheless, further research with higher-quality studies is necessary in order to define the international guidelines for application of this treatment in diseases of the nervous system.
See the full report in Spanish with English and Basque summary here.
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