Vagus nerve stimulation in 15 children with therapy resistant epilepsy; its impact on cognition, quality of life, behaviour and mood

Seizure. 2005 Oct;14(7):504-13. doi: 10.1016/j.seizure.2005.08.007. Epub 2005 Sep 19.


Purpose: Vagus nerve stimulation (VNS) is a neurophysiologic treatment for patients with refractory epilepsy. There is growing evidence of additional quality of life (QOL) benefits of VNS. We report the effects of VNS on seizure frequency and severity and how these changes are related to cognitive abilities, QOL, behaviour and mood in 15 children with medically refractory and for surgery not eligible epilepsy.

Methods: Initially, and after 3 and 9 months of VNS-treatment, 15 children were investigated with Bayley Scales of Infant Development (BSID), Wechsler Preschool and Primary Scale of Intelligence (WPPSI-R), Wechlser Intelligence Scales for Children (WISC-III) depending on the child's level of functioning, a Visual Analogue Scale for validating QOL, Child Behaviour Checklist (CBCL) for quantifying behaviour problems, Dodrill Mood Analogue Scale and Birleson Depression Self-Rating Scale, and the National Hospital Seizure Severity Scale (NHS3). A diary of seizure frequency was collected.

Results: Six of 15 children showed a 50% or more reduction in seizure frequency; one of these became seizure-free. Two children had a 25-50% seizure reduction. Two children showed increased seizure frequency. In 13 of 15 children there was an improvement in NHS3. The parents reported shorter duration of seizure and recovery phase. There were no changes in cognitive functioning. Twelve children showed an improvement in QOL. Eleven of these also improved in seizure severity and mood and five also in depressive parameters.

Conclusion: This study has shown a good anti-seizure effect of VNS, an improvement in seizure severity and in QOL and a tendency to improvement over time regarding behaviour, mood and depressive parameters. The improvement in seizure severity, QOL, behaviour, mood and depressive parameters was not related to the anti-seizure effect.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Affect / physiology
  • Affect / radiation effects*
  • Behavior / physiology
  • Behavior / radiation effects*
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Cognition / physiology
  • Cognition / radiation effects*
  • Demography
  • Dose-Response Relationship, Radiation
  • Drug Resistance
  • Electric Stimulation Therapy / methods*
  • Epilepsy / physiopathology
  • Epilepsy / psychology
  • Epilepsy / therapy*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Mental Status Schedule
  • Neuropsychological Tests
  • Quality of Life / psychology*
  • Statistics as Topic
  • Vagus Nerve / radiation effects*