Purpose: We discuss the effectiveness, tolerability, and safety of vagus nerve stimulation (VNS) as adjunctive therapy in 26 patients with refractory epileptic encephalopathies (EEs).
Material and methods: Twenty-six patients (17 male and 9 female) with electroclinical features compatible with Lennox-Gastaut syndrome (LGS) in 20 patients, Dravet syndrome (DS) in 3 patients, and epilepsy with myoclonic-astatic seizures (EMAS) in 3 patients implanted with the NCP system were analyzed.
Results: In our series of patients with LGS, 17 cases showed a significant improvement in seizure control, with a reduction in seizure frequency of at least 50%. Seven of them previously had epileptic spasms. Three patients with EMAS and two patients with DS showed a significant improvement in seizure control, with a reduction in seizure frequency of at least 50%. A good clinical response was evident early and efficacy progressively improved with the duration of treatment up to 36 months. In patients who had a reduction in seizure frequency of at least 50%, quality of life (QOL) and neuropsychological performance improved. VNS was well-tolerated in all patients.
Conclusion: VNS is an effective and well-tolerated treatment for patients with epileptic encephalopathies EEs, improving QOL and neuropsychological performance.