Subgroup analysis of seizure and cognitive outcome after vagal nerve stimulator implantation in children

Corine Knorr, Ladina Greuter, Shlomi Constantini, Itzhak Fried, Uri Kremer, Alexandre N. Datta, Raphael Guzman, Jehuda Soleman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Objective: Vagal nerve stimulator (VNS) implantation at an early age seems to lead to improved quality of life and cognitive outcome. The aim of this analysis is to evaluate whether specific patient or seizure characteristics might lead to better seizure control, cognitive outcome, and higher quality of life in children undergoing VNS implantation. Methods: Primary outcome measure was reduction in seizure frequency. Secondary outcome measures were epilepsy outcome assessed by McHugh and Engel classifications, reduction in antiepileptic drugs (AED), developmental and cognitive outcome, as well as quality of life assessed through the pediatric quality of life (PEDSQL™) questionnaire and care giver impression (CGI) scale. Forty-five consecutive children undergoing VNS implantation were analyzed for the following subgroups: age (categorized to 1–2 years old, 3–5 years old, 6–12 years old, and 13–18 years old), sex, underlying cause (categorized to idiopathic, encephalitis, stroke, syndromic), duration of preoperative seizures (dichotomized to under or above 89 months, corresponding to the median of the whole cohort), and preoperative seizure frequency (dichotomized to under and above 360 seizures per month). Results: Encephalitis as the underlying cause for seizures was the only variable significantly associated with higher reduction rate of seizure frequency. Patients with VNS implantation at the age of ≤ 2 years showed a strong association with better developmental and cognitive outcome, as well as quality of life. Shorter duration of preoperative seizures and higher preoperative seizure frequency showed a strong association with better developmental outcome, as well as quality of life. Engel outcome scores were significantly better in patients with epilepsy due to encephalitis (100% Engel I–III). However, patients with epilepsy due to encephalitis showed significantly higher complication rates (71.4%, p = 0.045). Conclusions: Children suffering from epilepsy due to encephalitis show higher seizure reduction rates after VNS implantation when compared with children suffering from epilepsy due to other causes. Developmental and cognitive outcomes as well as quality of life of children undergoing VNS implantation is strongly associated with shorter duration of preoperative seizures and implantation at a young age.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)243-252
Number of pages10
JournalChild's Nervous System
Volume37
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 2021

Keywords

  • Drug-resistant epilepsy
  • Epilepsy
  • PEDSQL™
  • Pediatric neurosurgery
  • Psychomotor development
  • Quality of life
  • Seizures
  • Vagal nerve stimulator

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