Vagus nerve stimulation in children with refractory seizures associated with Lennox-Gastaut syndrome

Epilepsia. 2001 Sep;42(9):1148-52. doi: 10.1046/j.1528-1157.2001.23900.x.


Purpose: Vagus nerve stimulation (VNS) is approved for use for refractory partial seizures. Nevertheless, information regarding VNS therapy for special populations, including Lennox-Gastaut syndrome (LGS) is limited. We discuss the effectiveness, tolerability, and safety of VNS therapy in patients with LGS.

Methods: A six-center, retrospective study evaluated the effectiveness of VNS therapy in patients with LGS at 3 and 6 months and compared preimplant and postimplant seizure frequency. Adverse effects and quality of life (QOL) were included as secondary measures.

Results: Fifty patients, median age 13 years, with medically refractory epilepsy, were implanted. Median age at onset of seizures was 1.4 years, and a median of nine anticonvulsants (AEDs) had been tried before implantation. Data-collection forms were designed for retrospectively gathering data on each patient's preimplant history, seizures, implants, device settings, QOL, and adverse events. Median reductions in total seizures were 42% at 1 month, 58.2% at 3 months, and 57.9% at 6 months. The most common adverse events reported were voice alteration and coughing during stimulation. Other uncommon adverse events included increased drooling and behavioral changes. Investigators noted that QOL had improved for some patients in the study.

Conclusions: VNS is an effective treatment for medically refractory epilepsy in LGS. This treatment is well tolerated, safe, and may improve QOL.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Multicenter Study

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Attitude to Health
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Cough / etiology
  • Electric Stimulation Therapy / adverse effects
  • Electric Stimulation Therapy / methods*
  • Electrodes, Implanted
  • Epilepsy / diagnosis
  • Epilepsy / psychology
  • Epilepsy / therapy*
  • Female
  • Health Status
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Quality of Life
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Sialorrhea / etiology
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Vagus Nerve / physiology*
  • Voice Disorders / etiology