Vagus nerve stimulation in patients with catastrophic childhood epilepsy, a 2-year follow-up study

Seizure. 2005 Jan;14(1):10-8. doi: 10.1016/j.seizure.2004.02.003.


Purpose: To establish the long-term efficacy and tolerability of vagus nerve stimulation (VNS) in children with a Lennox-like syndrome.

Method: This study was a longitudinal observational prospective cohort analysis. Baseline: 6 months.

Follow-up: 24 months. Screening (baseline and every 6 months): MRI (baseline only), EEG, neuropsychological evaluation, ECG and blood sampling for antiepileptic drug levels. Nineteen children are included.

Results: A seizure frequency reduction of 20.6% was found at the end of the follow-up period. No relationship was detected between the length of the stimulation period and the reduction in the seizure frequency. 21% of the patients showed a reduction in seizure frequency of 50% or more. The seizure severity showed improvement in the first 12 months of treatment. The largest seizure reduction was found in the patients with highest frequency of background activity at the baseline EEG. Neuropsychological findings: no negative impact on behaviour, moderate improvement in function, behaviour and mood. Largest seizure reduction was found in the group with the highest baseline mental function. The scores for mental age improved independently of the seizure control. Twelve patients (63%) experienced minor side effects, which subsided after 1 month.

Conclusion: (1) There was a significant reduction in seizure frequency and severity. (2) No serious side effects were recorded. (3) No negative effects on cognition or quality of life were apparent. (4) Patients with highest baseline mental functioning showed the highest seizure reduction. (5) Those patients with less disturbed EEG (high background activity and less interictal epileptic activity) showed the highest seizure reduction.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Child
  • Cohort Studies
  • Comorbidity
  • Electric Stimulation Therapy / instrumentation*
  • Electrodes, Implanted*
  • Electroencephalography*
  • Epilepsy / physiopathology
  • Epilepsy / therapy*
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Intellectual Disability / physiopathology
  • Long-Term Care
  • Male
  • Neuropsychological Tests
  • Prospective Studies
  • Syndrome
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Vagus Nerve / physiopathology*