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Medical Science Monitor Basic Research


eISSN: 1643-3750

Efficacy and Safety of Treatment with Transcutaneous Vagus Nerve Stimulation in 17 Patients with Refractory Epilepsy Evaluated by Electroencephalogram, Seizure Frequency, and Quality of Life

Aihua Liu, Peijing Rong, Li Gong, Lu Song, Xian Wang, Liping Li, Yuping Wang

Department of Neurology, Xuanwu Hospital, Capital Medical University, Beijing, China (mainland)

Med Sci Monit 2018; 24: CLR8439-8448

DOI: 10.12659/MSM.910689

Chinese Clinical Trial Registry # ChiCTR-TRC-10001023

Available online: 2018-11-23

Published: 2018-11-23


BACKGROUND: This study aimed to investigate the efficacy and safety of treatment with transcutaneous vagus nerve stimulation (tVNS) for patients with refractory epilepsy by evaluation of the frequency of seizures, electroencephalogram (EEG) changes, and quality of life on follow-up at three months and six months.
MATERIAL AND METHODS: EEG evaluation followed baseline evaluation with EEG at three months and six months following tVNS treatment. The frequency of seizures was recorded during the six-month study period. Before and after tVNS treatment, patients completed the Self-Rating Anxiety Scale (SAS), the Self-Rating Depression Scale (SDS), the Liverpool Seizure Severity Scale (LSSS), the Quality of Life in Epilepsy Inventory (QOLIE-31), and the Pittsburg Sleep Quality Index (PSQI).
RESULTS: Seventeen patients completed six months of tVNS treatment. Following three months of tVNS therapy, the frequency of epileptic seizures decreased in 13/17 subjects, with an average reduced seizure rate of 31.3%. Following six months of tVNS treatment, the frequency of epileptic seizures decreased in 16/17 subjects, with an average reduced seizure rate of 64.4%. There were 14/17 cases with abnormal EEG at baseline; 2/17 patients had improved EEGs by three months, and 10/17 patients had improved EEGs by six months. During the study period, there were no adverse events associated with tVNS treatment, but the effects on sleep were inconclusive.
CONCLUSIONS: This preliminary study showed that tVNS was an effective and safe adjuvant treatment for refractory epilepsy that reduced seizure frequency and reduced abnormal EEG changes following clinical improvement.

Keywords: Electroencephalography, Epilepsy, Absence, Patients