In 1997, the US Food and Drug Administration approved the use of intermittent stimulation of the left vagal nerve as adjunctive therapy for seizure control. Vagal nerve stimulation (VNS) has since been considered a safe and effective treatment for medically intractable seizures. The objective of this study is to present our experience with the surgical procedure and outcomes after VNS insertion in the first 100 consecutive patients treated at the Tel-Aviv "Sourasky" Medical Center (TASMC). All patients who underwent VNS device implantation by the authors at TASMC between 2005 and 2011 were studied. The collected data included age at onset of epilepsy, seizure type, duration of epilepsy, age at VNS device implantation, seizure reduction, surgical complications, and adverse effects of VNS over time. Fifty-three males and 47 females, age 21.2 ± 11.1 years, underwent VNS implantation. Indications for surgery were medically refractory epilepsy. The most common seizure type was focal (55 patients, 55 %). Seizure duration until implantation was 14.4 ± 9 years. Mean follow-up time after device insertion was 24.5 ± 22 months. Complications were encountered in 12 patients. The most common complication was local infection (6 patients, 6 %). Six devices were removed - four due to infection and two due to loss of clinical effect. Currently, 63 patients remain in active long-term follow-up; of these, 35 patients have >50 % reduction in frequency of attacks.VNS is a well-tolerated and effective therapeutic alternative in the management of medically refractory epilepsy. The surgical procedure is safe and has a low complication rate.
- Vagal nerve stimulator (VNS)
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