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This article was published in February 2016. The information may be out of date. Please check our epilepsy information or our site A-Z.

Is vagus nerve stimulation an effective alternative in children?

16 Feb 2016


A recent study has added to our knowledge that vagus nerve stimulation (VNS) is a safe and efficient treatment for children living with drug-resistant epilepsy who are unable to receive surgery.

Emilie Bodin looked at the files of 29 children who had a VNS device implanted over a seventeen-year period. She and her colleagues wanted to see just how successful this treatment is in reducing numbers of seizures and improving the quality of life of the children.

The response rate in the children was good, with the average number of the children’s seizures falling by over half (59%) after three months and by over two-thirds (66%) after six months. People with epilepsy have noticed improvements in their day-to-day lives after receiving this treatment. The study showed that parents and caregivers noticed improvements in the quality of life of over one-third (38%) of the children involved in the study.

Bodin and her colleagues found that this method of treatment is more effective in people with partial epilepsy with a known cause compared to people with generalised epilepsy. Another notable factor was that the number of hospital visits that the children had decreased greatly.

However, the VNS treatment was stopped in nine children due to complications or lack of effectiveness.

The study, to be published in the European Journal of Paediatric Neurology, concludes that the treatment is a safe and effective option for children with drug-resistant epilepsy.

Story by Saskia Wood


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