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J Clin Neurophysiol. 1997 Sep;14(5):358-68.

Vagus nerve stimulation for intractable epilepsy: a review.

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Department of Clinical Neurological Sciences, University of Western Ontario, London, Canada.


Electrical stimulation of the vagus nerve in the neck by using a programmable stimulator similar to a cardiac pacemaker is being explored as a treatment for epilepsy. There is sound rationale based on studies of animal seizure models for pursuing this treatment modality, and early clinical trials provide support for efficacy in patients with intractable epilepsy at least equivalent to that of some of the new antiepileptic drugs. Safety and tolerability have been demonstrated in >800 patients worldwide since the first implant in 1988. Most of these had partial seizures for which resective epilepsy surgery was not feasible or had failed, but efficacy of vagal stimulation appears to be the same for both partial and generalized epilepsy. Specific selection criteria for this procedure have yet to be established, and further studies are warranted to determine whether vagal stimulation becomes an accepted procedure for epilepsy management.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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