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Does emergent implantation of a vagal nerve stimulator stop refractory status epilepticus in children?

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Grioni, D.; Landi, A.; Fiori, L.; Sganzerla, E. P.

PURPOSE: Status Epilepticus can be a serious life threatening event in epileptic patients. The definition of refractory or super-refractory Status Epilepticus was based on the therapeutic response to anti-epileptic and anesthetic drugs. Vagal Nerve Stimulation showed efficacy in treating drug-resistant epilepsy but there are only few reports on emergentplacement of Vagal Nerve Stimulator for refractory or super-refractory Status Epilepticus. METHODS: Among 49 children implanted at our Institution with Vagal Nerve Stimulation for drug-resistant epilepsy, the authors retrospectively identified those implanted for refractory or super-refractory Status Epilepticus, according with the current definitions. RESULTS: 4 patients were operated upon at ages ranging 7 to 17 months and reached the programmed output current of 1 mA over a time ranging from 24 to 36 h (fast ramping-up). In 3 out of 4 patient we observed the abrupt of Status Epilepticus; one patient was refractory both to drugs and Vagal Nerve Stimulation and later died, without recovering from SE. At follow up, ranging from 24 to 45 months, the remaining 3 patients showed a decrease of the seizures frequency >80% without relapse of Status Epilepticus; in all the patients, output current and/or Duty Cycle were increased later. CONCLUSION: VNS can be effective in treating refractory or super-refractory Status Epilepticus.

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