Long-term results of vagus nerve stimulation in children and adolescents with drug-resistant epilepsy

Childs Nerv Syst. 2012 Apr;28(4):621-8. doi: 10.1007/s00381-011-1670-z. Epub 2012 Jan 6.


Purpose: The purpose of this study was to evaluate long-term seizure reduction and on-demand magnet use in children and adolescents with drug-resistant epilepsy who were treated with vagus nerve stimulation therapy.

Methods: Fifty-seven children and adolescents under 18 years of age with drug-resistant epilepsy were implanted with a vagus nerve stimulation therapy device. Seizure reduction was evaluated at 6, 12, 24, 36, and 48 months after implantation. Magnet effect on seizure frequency was evaluated during the first week after implantation and after 6, 12, 24, 36, and 48 months of treatment.

Results: The mean reduction in seizure frequency compared with baseline was significant at all time points up to 48 months post-implantation. At 12 months, the average reduction in seizure frequency was 52.4%, and at 48 months, it was 53.1% (observed case analysis). The use of a magnet to deliver extra "on-demand" stimulation between cycles resulted in cessation of seizures in 16.1% of patients, partial effect in 73.2%, and no effect in 10.7%, when evaluated within 1 week of implantation. The magnet effect decreased slightly with increasing time after implantation. A sub-analysis of children ≤12 years of age (N = 34) showed similar results after 36 months of follow-up. The therapy was well tolerated regardless of age.

Conclusion: Vagus nerve stimulation therapy is a safe and effective adjunctive treatment for children and adolescents of all ages with drug-resistant epilepsy.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Anticonvulsants / administration & dosage*
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Epilepsy / drug therapy
  • Epilepsy / physiopathology
  • Epilepsy / therapy*
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Time Factors
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Vagus Nerve Stimulation / methods*
  • Vagus Nerve Stimulation / trends


  • Anticonvulsants