Vagal nerve stimulation in tuberous sclerosis complex patients

Pediatr Neurol. 2001 Sep;25(3):213-6. doi: 10.1016/s0887-8994(01)00312-5.


This is an open-label, retrospective, multicenter study to determine the outcome of intermittent stimulation of the left vagal nerve in children with tuberous sclerosis complex and medically refractory epilepsy. The records of all children treated with vagal nerve stimulation were reviewed in five pediatric epilepsy centers to locate those with tuberous sclerosis complex who had been treated with vagal nerve stimulation for at least 6 months. These patients were compared with (1) a series of patients obtained from the literature, (2) 10 similar control patients with epilepsy obtained from a registry of patients receiving vagal nerve stimulation, and (3) four published series of tuberous sclerosis complex patients whose epilepsy was surgically managed. Ten tuberous sclerosis complex patients with medically refractory epilepsy treated with vagal nerve stimulation were found. Nine experienced at least a 50% reduction in seizure frequency, and half had a 90% or greater reduction in seizure frequency. No adverse events were encountered. Comparison with published and registry patients revealed improved seizure control in the tuberous sclerosis complex patients. Comparison with the group undergoing seizure surgery demonstrated improved outcomes after surgery. Vagal nerve stimulation appears to be an effective and well-tolerated adjunctive therapy in patients with tuberous sclerosis complex and seizures refractory to medical therapy. Resective surgery has a better prospect for improved seizure control.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Multicenter Study

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Electric Stimulation Therapy / methods*
  • Electrodes, Implanted
  • Epilepsy / etiology
  • Epilepsy / surgery
  • Epilepsy / therapy*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Tuberous Sclerosis / therapy*
  • Vagus Nerve*