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ID Design 2012/DOOEL Skopje, Republic of Macedonia

Open Access Macedonian Journal of Medical Sciences.


eISSN: 1857-9655

Review Article




Vagus Nerve Stimulation


Hakan Ekmekçi1, Hülagu Kaptan2*

1Selcuk University, Faculty of Medicine, Department of Neurology, Konya, Turkey; 2Dokuz Eylül University, Medical Faculty, Inciralti 35340, Izmir, Turkey





BACKGROUND: The vagus nerve stimulation (VNS) is an approach mainly used in cases of intractable epilepsy despite all the efforts. Also, its benefits have been shown in severe cases of depression resistant to typical treatment.

AIM: The aim of this study was to present current knowledge of vagus nerve stimulation.

MATERIAL AND METHODS: A new value has emerged just at this stage: VNS aiming the ideal treatment with new hopes. It is based on the placement of a programmable generator on the chest wall. Electric signals from the generator are transmitted to the left vagus nerve through the connection cable. Control on the cerebral bioelectrical activity can be achieved by way of these signal sent from there in an effort for controlling the epileptic discharges.

RESULTS: The rate of satisfactory and permanent treatment in epilepsy with monotherapy is around 50%. This rate will increase by one-quarters (25%) with polytherapy. However, there is a patient group roughly constituting one-thirds of this population, and this group remains unresponsive or refractory to all the therapies and combined regimes. The more the number of drugs used, the more chaos and side effects are observed. The anti-epileptic drugs (AEDs) used will have side effects on both the brain and the systemic organs. Cerebral resection surgery can be required in some patients. The most commonly encountered epilepsy type is the partial one, and the possibility of benefiting from invasive procedures is limited in most patients of this type. Selective amygdala-hippocampus surgery is a rising value in complex partial seizures. Therefore, as epilepsy surgery can be performed in very limited numbers and rather developed centres, success can also be achieved in limited numbers of patients. The common ground for all the surgical procedures is the target of preservation of memory, learning, speaking, temper and executive functions as well as obtaining a good control on seizures. However, the action mechanism of VNS is still not exactly known. On the other hand, it appears to be a reliable method that is tolerated well in partial resistant seizures. It has been observed that adverse effects are generally of mild-medium severity, and most of the problems can be eliminated easily through the re-adjustment of the stimulator.

CONCLUSION: VNS, which is a treatment modality that will take place it deserves in epilepsy treatment with "the correct patient" and "correct reason", must be known better and its applications must be developed.


Citation: Ekmekçi H, Kaptan H. Vagus Nerve Stimulation. Open Access Maced J Med Sci. https://doi.org/10.3889/oamjms.2017.056
Keywords: Vagus nerve stimulation; refractory seizure; treatment of epilepsy.
*Correspondence: Hülagu Kaptan. Dokuz Eylül University, Medical Faculty, Inciralti 35340, Izmir, Turkey. E-mail: hulagukaptan@yahoo.com
Received: 21-Feb-2017; Revised: 11-Mar-2017; Accepted: 31-Mar-2017; Online first: 07-May-2017
Copyright: © 2017 Hakan Ekmekçi, Hülagu Kaptan.  This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License (CC BY-NC 4.0).
Funding: This research did not receive any financial support.
Competing Interests: The authors have declared that no competing interests exist.


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- Kaptan H


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- Kaptan H




Published by: Id Design 2012/DOOEL Skopje, Republic of Macedonia

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This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License.