Compatibility of transvenous implantable cardioverter defibrillator and vagus nerve stimulation device: a case report

Eur Heart J Case Rep. 2024 Apr 23;8(5):ytae214. doi: 10.1093/ehjcr/ytae214. eCollection 2024 May.


BACKGROUND: Vagus nerve stimulation (VNS) is an established therapy for drug-resistant epilepsy and depression. While VNS co-existence with cardiac pacemakers is considered safe, its interaction with implantable cardioverter defibrillators (ICDs) remains poorly understood. The concern revolves around the potential for VNS stimulation to interfere with ICD function, potentially resulting in inappropriate therapy or changes in cardiac pacing.

CASE SUMMARY: We present the case of a 50-year-old woman with drug-resistant epilepsy who underwent VNS device implantation and subsequent transvenous ICD placement for primary prevention post-myocardial infarction. These devices were thoughtfully situated contralaterally, with a minimum 10 cm separation. Comprehensive testing and follow-up demonstrated no interactions during device programming or serial assessments. Simultaneous interrogation of both devices with their respective telemetry wands caused chaotic artefacts in all channels on the ICD, likely due to electromagnetic interference. Importantly, this interference did not affect ICD sensing.

DISCUSSION: The co-existence of VNS and ICD in a patient is an emerging scenario with limited previous reports, yet our findings align with prior cases involving VNS and pacemakers. Emphasizing the need for optimal device separation and meticulous evaluation, particularly at maximum VNS output and ICD sensitivity settings, ensures their safe and feasible co-existence. As the use of VNS alongside cardiac implantable electronic devices becomes more common, a diligent evaluation for potential interactions is imperative. Our case highlights the successful co-existence of VNS and ICD, underscoring the importance of careful monitoring and evaluation to guarantee the safe utilization of these two devices.

PMID:38721251 | PMC:PMC11078306 | DOI:10.1093/ehjcr/ytae214