Click on the icon on the upper right hand side for the article written by Shay Menascu, MD, Uri Kremer, MD, Yitzhak Schiller, MD, Ilan Blatt, MD, Nathan Watemberg, MD, Marina Boxer, MD, Hadasa Goldberg, MD, Isabella Korn-Lubetzki, MD, Moshe Steinberg, MD and Bruria Ben-Zeev MD.
IMAJ 2013: 15: November: 673-677
Background: The management of intractable epilepsy in children and adults is challenging. For patients who do not respond to antiepileptic drugs and are not suitable candidates for epilepsy surgery, vagal nerve stimulation (VNS) is a viable alternative for reducing seizure frequency.
Methods: In this retrospective multicenter open-label study we examined the efficacy and tolerability of VNS in patients in five adult and pediatric epilepsy centers in Israel. All patients had drug-resistant epilepsy and after VNS implantation in 2006–2007 were followed for a minimum of 18 months. Patients were divided into two age groups: < 21 and > 21 years old.
Results: Fifty-six adults and children had a stimulator implanted in 2006–2007. At 18 months post-VNS implantation, none of the patients was seizure-free, 24.3% reported a reduction in seizures of ≥ 75%, 19% reported a 50–75% reduction, and 10.8% a 25–50% reduction. The best response rate occurred in patients with complex partial seizures. Among these patients, 7 reported a ≥ 75% reduction, 5 patients a 50–75% reduction, 3 patients a 25–50% reduction, and 8 patients a < 25% reduction. A comparison of the two age groups showed a higher reduction in seizure rate in the older group (< 21 years old) than the younger group.
Conclusions: VNS is a relatively effective and safe palliative method for treating refractory epilepsy in both adults and children. It is an alternative treatment for patients with drug-resistant epilepsy, even after a relatively longed disease duration, who are not candidates for localized epilepsy surgery.