Vagus nerve stimulation treatment for Lennox-Gastaut syndrome

J Child Neurol. 2000 Aug;15(8):509-12. doi: 10.1177/088307380001500803.


Lennox-Gastaut syndrome is a severe age-specific epilepsy syndrome that presents with medication-resistant seizures in childhood. Antiepileptic drugs are the mainstay of treatment. Nonpharmacologic treatments include corpus callosum section and the ketogenic diet. However, no single treatment is safe and effective. We treated 13 patients with Lennox-Gastaut syndrome between the ages of 4 and 44 years (mean, 16.7 years) with vagus nerve stimulation. During the first 6 months of treatment, vagus nerve stimulation produced a median seizure rate reduction of 52% (range, 0% to 93%; P = .04). At 6 months of follow-up, three patients had a greater than 90% reduction in seizures, two had a greater than 75% reduction, one had a greater than 50% reduction, and six had at least a 25% reduction. One patient did not improve. No patient worsened after initial improvement. Side effects, including hoarseness, coughing, and pain in the throat, were transient and tolerable. No patient discontinued vagus nerve stimulation. Our results suggest that vagus nerve stimulation could be an effective and safe adjunct therapy for the treatment of Lennox-Gastaut syndrome.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Anticonvulsants / therapeutic use*
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Combined Modality Therapy
  • Electric Stimulation Therapy / adverse effects
  • Electric Stimulation Therapy / methods*
  • Electrodes, Implanted
  • Epilepsy / therapy*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Severity of Illness Index
  • Statistics, Nonparametric
  • Syndrome
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Vagus Nerve*


  • Anticonvulsants