Objective: The long-term efficacy and safety of responsive direct neurostimulation was assessed in adults with medically refractory partial onset seizures.
Methods: All participants were treated with a cranially implanted responsive neurostimulator that delivers stimulation to 1 or 2 seizure foci via chronically implanted electrodes when specific electrocorticographic patterns are detected (RNS System). Participants had completed a 2-year primarily open-label safety study (n = 65) or a 2-year randomized blinded controlled safety and efficacy study (n = 191); 230 participants transitioned into an ongoing 7-year study to assess safety and efficacy.
Results: The average participant was 34 (±11.4) years old with epilepsy for 19.6 (±11.4) years. The median preimplant frequency of disabling partial or generalized tonic-clonic seizures was 10.2 seizures a month. The median percent seizure reduction in the randomized blinded controlled trial was 44% at 1 year and 53% at 2 years (p < 0.0001, generalized estimating equation) and ranged from 48% to 66% over postimplant years 3 through 6 in the long-term study. Improvements in quality of life were maintained (p < 0.05). The most common serious device-related adverse events over the mean 5.4 years of follow-up were implant site infection (9.0%) involving soft tissue and neurostimulator explantation (4.7%).
Conclusions: The RNS System is the first direct brain responsive neurostimulator. Acute and sustained efficacy and safety were demonstrated in adults with medically refractory partial onset seizures arising from 1 or 2 foci over a mean follow-up of 5.4 years. This experience supports the RNS System as a treatment option for refractory partial seizures.
Classification of evidence: This study provides Class IV evidence that for adults with medically refractory partial onset seizures, responsive direct cortical stimulation reduces seizures and improves quality of life over a mean follow-up of 5.4 years.
© 2015 American Academy of Neurology.