Vagal nerve stimulation (VNS) has shown promising results in various cohorts of non-surgical refractory epilepsy in adults and children. However studies report a significant delay between implantation and clinical response. We describe a cohort of 28 children and adolescents prospectively followed, classified by epileptic syndromes and treated with VNS using a 6-week rapid ramping protocol between January 2000 and March 2005. Our cohort showed favorable outcome within 6 months which was sustained at 24 months: 68% (19/28) showing >or=50% reduction in seizure frequency, including 14% (4/28) who became seizure-free. VNS was particularly efficacious in children with cryptogenic generalized and partial epilepsies. Although adverse events occurred in 68% (19/28) of patients, most were transient. In conclusion, rapid ramping is associated with an early and lasting response in most children but with a slightly higher side-effect rate.