I'm new and I have a question about epilepsy

  1. hi there. I'm relatively new but I do lurk a bit.

    I'm wondering if anyone here has experience with VNS? Its the Vagus Nerve Stimulator and I know that it is implanted in the chest and then a lead wire along the vagus nerve. I would just love to speak with someone who has some experience with the device or hear opinions of other nurses in general.

  2. Visit RosieGlow profile page

    About RosieGlow

    Joined: Jan '03; Posts: 58


  3. by   nicudaynurse
    Hey Rosie Glow,

    I am currently a NICU nurse, but I have worked in pediatric neurology and I know A LOT about the VNS. What kind of questions do you have??
  4. by   angelbear
    I currently work with two residents who have the vns and my son has had his about 5 yrs now. I will answer whatever I can.
  5. by   NRSKarenRN
    Found this great info doing google.com search---
    other info available but these had great info.

    Use in Children

    The VNS from a Patient's Point of View
  6. by   RosieGlow
    wow. Thanks for the responses everyone.

    I guess first of all I'd like to know about how effective you've found the device to be. What are the side effects? Are they comparable to the side effects of AEDs? Is there a certain type of patient that finds VNS most effective? What is your personal take on it?
  7. by   nicudaynurse
    Effectiveness: A third will have major improvement, a third will have some improvement, and a third will have no improvement. The kids that I worked with that had a VNS had intractable epilepsy and were on at least 2 or 3 AED's so they were very challenging cases. One of our kids did become seizure free and a few others had a significant decrease in seizure frequency. The VNS also improves alertness, memory, and cognition.

    Side effects: hoarseness, cough, tickling in the throat, changes
    in voice during stimulation. Compared to AED's
    these side effects are minimal. AED's have A LOT
    of side effects.

    Personal take: I am a big fan of the VNS. It has improved the
    quality of life for kids with epilepsy. The VNS
    has given a sense of control to the patients
    and/or families by using the magnet which can
    stop/shorten seizures. All the kids with the VNS
    have become more alert. None of our families had
    any regrets about the VNS.

    Be sure to check out Cyberonics.com they will have lot's of info. and will be more than happy to mail you some info.
  8. by   zambezi
    I work in a neuro clinic and the docs to quite a bit of vns implants/follow-up....there is a vns registry that tracks patients and compiles information on many different areas...from what i have seen, i am a big fan as well...i have talked to some patients that it has not been very effective with, however, the large majority of the patients are quite happy with the results and have better control of their seizures. Many have come down on their AEDs as well. Family members/caregivers like the magnet as well as it often shortens or halts the seizure. Most of the patients that i talk with are more alert, have less headaches and a better post-ictal state. Cyberonics.com is a good site to look at...that is the company that the registry is through...
  9. by   angelbear
    My son has gone from approx. 45 grandmal seizures per month to about 20 per month. He is 15 and has had seizures since birth. He has been on most all AED's including a couple of drug studies. Most of the AED's did not work and had horrible SE. We are pleased with the improvement.
  10. by   RosieGlow
    this is all great news. I've read the 1/3 statistic as well. But I'd say the majority of the patient feedback I read/hear about is positive. Though I suppose even "somewhat" improvement is still a pretty big positive when you have a seizure disorder.

    Has anyone noticed a certain type or locality of seizure is more likely to respond to the VNS treatment?