Right-sided vagus nerve stimulation for drug-resistant epilepsy: A systematic review of the literature and perspectives

Seizure. 2024 Feb 19;117:298-304. doi: 10.1016/j.seizure.2024.02.011. Online ahead of print.


BACKGROUND: Right-sided vagus nerve stimulation (RS-VNS) is indicated when the procedure was deemed not technically feasible or too risky on the indicated left side.

OBJECTIVE: The present study aims to systematically review the literature on RS-VNS, assessing its effectiveness and safety.

METHODS: A systematic review following PRISMA guidelines was conducted: Pubmed/MEDLINE, The Cochrane Library, Scopus, Embase and Web of science databases were searched from inception to August 13th,2023. Gray literature was searched in two libraries. Eligible studies included all studies reporting, at least, one single case of RS-VNS in patients for the treatment of drug-resistant epilepsy.

RESULTS: Out of 2333 initial results, 415 studies were screened by abstract. Only four were included in the final analysis comprising seven patients with RS-VNS for a drug-resistant epilepsy. One patient experienced nocturnal asymptomatic bradycardia whereas the other six patients did not display any cardiac symptom. RS-VNS was discontinued in one case due to exercise-induced airway disease exacerbation. Decrease of epileptic seizure frequency after RS-VNS ranged from 25 % to 100 % in six cases. In the remaining case, VNS effectiveness was unclear. In one case, RS-VNS was more efficient than left-sided VNS (69 % vs 50 %, respectively) whereas in another case, RS-VNS was less efficient (50 % vs 95 %, respectively).

CONCLUSION: Literature on the present topic is limited. In six out of seven patients, RS-VNS for drug-resistant epilepsy displayed reasonable effectiveness with a low complication rate. Further research, including prospective studies, is necessary to assess safety and effectiveness of RS-VNS for drug-resistant epilepsy patients.

PMID:38615369 | DOI:10.1016/j.seizure.2024.02.011