Vagus Nerve Stimulation (VNS)

VNS therapy may be a helpful option for some individuals living with Dravet Syndrome.

In vagus nerve stimulation, a device is surgically implanted into the chest, like a pacemaker. The vagus nerve runs from the base of the brain to the chest and abdomen, with one branch running on each side of the body. A wire from the VNS device is wrapped around the left vagus nerve. When activated, the device sends an electrical signal from the vagus nerve to the brain. Stimulation by the VNS device is thought to help regulate signaling in the brain, thereby reducing the overactive signaling that causes seizures in Dravet Syndrome

The VNS device is programmed to deliver electrical stimulation to the vagus nerve at various times and with various intensities. The simulation usually begins at a low level and is increased based on symptoms and effectiveness. Caregivers are also able to activate the VNS device if they sense the start of a seizure.

VNS therapy may be a helpful option for some, although - like all treatments for Dravet Syndrome - not everyone with responds in the same way. Research suggests that around half of those undergoing VNS therapy show at least a 50% reduction in seizures as a result.

FAQs on VNS Therapy from the Epilepsy Society

The Epilepsy Society website has a helpful section answering 'frequently asked questions' about VNS therapy.

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Further information from Liva Nova

LivaNova (makers of the VNS therapy system) provide more details about this therapeutic approach.

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