Low and High Frequency Hippocampal Stimulation for Drug-Resistant Mesial Temporal Lobe Epilepsy

Neuromodulation. 2016 Jun;19(4):365-72. doi: 10.1111/ner.12435. Epub 2016 Apr 13.


Objective: Electrical stimulation of the hippocampus offers the possibility to treat patients with mesial temporal lobe epilepsy (MTLE) who are not surgical candidates. We report long-term follow-up results in five patients receiving low or high frequency hippocampal stimulation for drug-resistant MTLE.

Materials and methods: The patients underwent stereotactic implantation of quadripolar stimulating electrodes in the hippocampus. Two of the patients received unilateral electrode implantation, while the other three received bilateral implantation. Stimulation of the hippocampal electrodes was turned ON immediately after the implantation of an implantable pulse generator, with initial stimulation parameters: 1 V, 90-150 μs, 5 or 145 Hz. The frequency of seizures was monitored and compared with preimplantation baseline data.

Results: Two men and three women, aged 27-61 years were studied, with a mean follow-up period of 38.4 months (range, 30-42 months). The baseline seizure frequency was 2.0-15.3/month. The five patients had an average 45% (range 22-72%) reduction in the frequency of seizures after hippocampal stimulation over the study period. Low frequency hippocampal stimulation decreased the frequency of seizures in two patients (by 54% and 72%, respectively). No implantation- or stimulation-related side effects were reported.

Conclusions: Electrical stimulation of the hippocampus is a minimally invasive and reversible method that can improve seizure outcomes in patients with drug-resistant MTLE. The optimal frequency of stimulation varied from patient to patient and therefore required individual setting. These experimental results warrant further controlled studies with a large patient population to evaluate the long-term effect of hippocampal stimulation with different stimulation parameters.

Keywords: deep brain stimulation; epilepsy; high frequency electrical stimulation; low frequency electrical stimulation; outcomes.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Anticonvulsants / therapeutic use
  • Biophysics
  • Deep Brain Stimulation / methods*
  • Drug Resistant Epilepsy / therapy
  • Electroencephalography
  • Epilepsy, Temporal Lobe / diagnostic imaging
  • Epilepsy, Temporal Lobe / therapy*
  • Female
  • Fluorodeoxyglucose F18
  • Hippocampus / physiology*
  • Humans
  • Longitudinal Studies
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Positron-Emission Tomography
  • Tomography, Emission-Computed, Single-Photon
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Video Recording


  • Anticonvulsants
  • Fluorodeoxyglucose F18