Vagus nerve stimulation (VNS) is an adjunctive antiepileptic treatment for patients with refractory epilepsy. Limited information on long-term treatment with VNS is available. The purpose of this paper is to present our experience with VNS with a follow-up of up to 4 years. Twenty-five patients (13 females and 12 males) with refractory partial epilepsy were treated with VNS. The first 15 patients with a mean age of 30 years and a mean duration of epilepsy of 17.5 years have sufficient follow-up for analysis. Mean post-implantation follow-up was 29 months and mean stimulation output 2.25 mA. There was a mean seizure frequency reduction from 14 complex partial seizures (CPS) per month before implantation to 8 CPS per month after implantation (P = 0.0016; Wilcoxon signed-rank rest (WSRT)). The mean maximum CPS-free interval changed from 9 to 312 days (P = 0.0007; WSRT). Six patients were free of CPS for at least one year. In one patient, one antiepileptic drug (AED) was tapered; in 10 patients, AEDs remained unchanged; in four, one adjunctive AED was administered. Side effects occurred in six patients, three of whom required a temporary reduction of output current. Nine patients reported no side effects at all. Treatment with VNS remains effective in the long-term. In this series 4 / 15 (27%) patients with highly refractory epilepsy experienced entirely seizure-free intervals of 12 months or more.
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