Vagus nerve stimulation in children with therapy-resistant epilepsy diagnosed as Lennox-Gastaut syndrome: clinical results, neuropsychological effects, and cost-effectiveness

J Clin Neurophysiol. 2001 Sep;18(5):419-28. doi: 10.1097/00004691-200109000-00006.


We studied the clinical efficacy and tolerability, neuropsychological effects, and cost-effectiveness (direct medical costs, direct nonmedical costs, and indirect costs) of vagus nerve stimulation (VNS) in children with Lennox-like syndrome (n = 16). The situation 6 months before implantation of the device is compared with that 6 months after surgery. Seizure frequency and severity are significantly reduced during VNS: 25% of the patients show a reduction in seizure frequency of 50% or greater; overall seizure reduction is 26.9%. Measures of neuropsychological outcome show a moderate improvement in mental functioning, behavior, and mood. The scores for mood and mental age improve independently of seizure control. Side effects are minor and transient. There is a significant reduction in direct non-health care costs, ergotherapy, and the number of days of sub-optimal functioning of the child. The costs during the 6 postoperative months are 2,876.06 Euros less than the costs during the 6 months before VNS; the payback period is 2.3 years.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Anticonvulsants / therapeutic use
  • Child
  • Cognition Disorders / diagnosis
  • Cognition Disorders / etiology
  • Cost-Benefit Analysis
  • Drug Resistance
  • Electric Stimulation Therapy / adverse effects
  • Electric Stimulation Therapy / economics
  • Electric Stimulation Therapy / instrumentation*
  • Electrodes, Implanted
  • Epilepsy / complications
  • Epilepsy / economics
  • Epilepsy / therapy*
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Neuropsychological Tests
  • Syndrome
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Vagus Nerve / physiology*


  • Anticonvulsants