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Saturday, May 18, 2013

Vagal nerve stimulation in children under 12 years old with medically intractable epilepsy.

Childs Nerv Syst. 2013 May 17. [Epub ahead of print]

Vagal nerve stimulation in children under 12 years old with medically intractable epilepsy.


College of Medicine, University Hospital of Wales, Cardiff, UK.



This study aims to assess the efficacy and safety of vagal nerve stimulation (VNS) in children less than 12 years old operated on at the University Hospital Wales.


Retrospective review of patients undergoing VNS insertion, over a 3-year period, was undertaken. All children had a minimum follow-up period of 2 years. Sixteen patients were identified via the paediatric epilepsy surgery database. A case note review and telephone evaluation was conducted. Seizure frequency using the McHugh classification was the primary outcome measure, with anti-epileptic drug (AED) use as a secondary outcome measure.


There were 10 males and 6 females. The mean time with epilepsy prior to surgery was 5.7 years and the mean age at the time of surgery was 7.6 years. Overall, nine (56 %) children experienced a reduction in their seizure frequency of 50 % or more. Of these, four (25 %) had a reduction of more than 80 %. Seven children (44 %) had no reduction in their seizure frequency, although two of these patients reported benefit regarding seizure control and post-ictal recovery. The VNS system was removed in two patients due to infection and no benefit, respectively. Half of the cohort (50 %) reduced the number of anti-epileptic drugs post-surgery, and there was an overall mean reduction of AED of 0.5.


This study suggests that VNS is a safe and effective adjuvant therapy in children under 12 years old, with over half reporting significant benefit. Further studies are needed to enable preoperative selection of patients in order to maximise the potential benefit.

[PubMed - as supplied by publisher]

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