1 Epilepsy Program, National Neurosciences Institute, King Fahad Medical City, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia
Vagus nerve stimulation (VNS) has been used for the treatment of drug-resistant epilepsy, especially in patients who are not candidates for surgical intervention. In fact, it was approved by the US FDA in 1997 as an adjunctive treatment for medically intractable epilepsy.
In this study, we investigated the efficacy of VNS in drug-resistant epilepsy associated with structural brain lesions (SBLs).
We retrospectively analyzed the effect of VNS on 25 patients diagnosed with intractable epilepsy-associated SBL, and compared the results to 19 patients with intractable epilepsy and normal neuroimaging. All patients underwent VNS insertion at the National Neurosciences Institute, King Fahad Medical City (Riyadh, Saudi Arabia) between 2008 and 2018.
The response rate (RR) for patients with drug-resistant epilepsy-associated SBL was 24% after 3 months, 36% after 6 months, and 48% after 1 year, reaching 76% over time. The mean follow-up period was 63.3 months. For non-SBL patients, the RR was 10.5% after 3 months, 36.8% after 6 months, and 47.4% after 1 year, reaching 73.7% over time. The mean follow-up period was 59.2 months. There was no statistically significant difference between the two groups regarding RR, VNS settings, and other parameters, including anti-epileptic drug use and demographics data.
VNS is strongly considered for intractable epilepsy in SBL patients, especially if they are not candidates for surgical intervention. Over time, those patients will receive increased benefits from VNS therapy.