Indexed on: 22 Apr '08Published on: 22 Apr '08Published in: Neurochirurgie
Proposed as an additive symptomatic treatment of refractory epilepsy, vagus nerve stimulation (VNS) has proven to be effective and well-tolerated in patients presenting with refractory epilepsy for whom cortical resection is not indicated. After two years of treatment, the overall reduction of seizure frequency averaged 40%. In 50% of the patients, the frequency of seizures decreased by at least 50%. Moreover, even in absence of a significant reduction of seizures, patients who undergo this treatment reported an improvement in their quality of life. Economic surveys also demonstrate a favorable impact of VNS on the management of refractory epilepsy. Since 1988, 65,000 patients with refractory epilepsy throughout the world have been treated by VNS for this indication (1000 in France). The surgical implantation technique used in our department, the effects of vagus nerve stimulation reported in the literature, and our experience with a cohort of 70 patients with refractory epilepsy who received implants over the last 10 years are described.