Efficacy and safety of vagus nerve stimulation in patients with complex partial seizures.
A clinical trial of chronic intermittent vagal stimulation in five patients suggests that the procedure may be safe and effective as adjunctive treatment of medically intractable seizures of partial onset. Patients tolerated well the implantation of the neurocybernetic prosthesis and the vagal stimulation without serious physiological or lifestyle changes. Stimulation of the vagus nerve either reduced the seizure frequency or decreased the duration or intensity of seizures. Adverse side effects were limited to a tingling sensation in the throat and hoarseness during stimulation. A major complication was mechanical interruption of the wire-electrode circuitry, with consequent cessation of stimulation. The small number of patients and the relatively short follow-up period make this a pilot study, but the results are promising.