The development of vagus nerve stimulation (VNS) began in the 19th century. Although it did not work well initially, it introduced the idea that led to many VNS-related animal studies for seizure control. In the 1990s, with the success of several early clinical trials, VNS was approved for the treatment of refractory epilepsy, and later for the refractory depression. To date, several novel electrical stimulating devices are being developed. New invasive devices are designed to automate the seizure control and for use in heart failure. Non-invasive transcutaneous devices, which stimulate auricular VN or carotid VN, are also undergoing clinical trials for treatment of epilepsy, pain, headache, and others. Noninvasive VNS (nVNS) exhibits greater safety profiles and seems similarly effective to their invasive counterpart. In this review, we discuss the history and development of VNS, as well as recent progress in invasive and nVNS.
Keywords: vagus nerve; vagus nerve stimulation.
© 2015 American Headache Society.