Author(s): McGregor A, Wheless J, Baumgartner J, Bettis D
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Abstract PURPOSE: We present three children who underwent right-sided vagus nerve stimulation (R-VNS). This treatment option for people with refractory epilepsy has not been described in children. METHODS: We reviewed our database of >350 patients implanted with vagus nerve stimulators and now describe our experience in three patients with R-VNS for the treatment of intractable seizures. All three patients improved dramatically with left-sided vagus nerve stimulation (L-VNS), but the devices had to be removed because of infection. The patients were thought to be at high risk for nerve injury if they were reapproached for L-VNSs; therefore R-VNSs were implanted. RESULTS: All three patients with an R-VNS had a reduction in seizures. Our first patient has had an R-VNS for 5 years; he has been seizure free for >2 years on R-VNS monotherapy. The second patient had an R-VNS for 8 months. His seizure control improved slightly, but not as dramatically as with L-VNS. The third child has had an R-VNS for >7 months and has cessation of his most disabling seizure type (generalized tonic-clonic seizures). None of the patients had cardiac side effects from therapeutic R-VNS. However, two of the three patients had respiratory events with R-VNS. CONCLUSIONS: VNS is known to be an effective treatment in pharmacoresistant epilepsy. R-VNS should be considered if a patient has significant benefit from L-VNS but is unable to continue with L-VNS. R-VNS appears also to have antiepilepsy effects. Additionally, our case report suggests that in some patients, a differential response is found regarding seizure control with R-VNS or L-VNS, raising the question whether L-VNS failures should pursue a trial of R-VNS. Patients should be cautioned and monitored for reactive airway disease if they undergo R-VNS. More research is needed to compare the effects of right- and left-sided VNS on cardiac and pulmonary function in humans and to determine which has the best antiseizure effect.
This article was published in Epilepsia
and referenced in Journal of Addiction Research & Therapy