Beneficial effects on sleep of vagus nerve stimulation in children with therapy resistant epilepsy.

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The study purpose was to evaluate sleep structure following Vagus Nerve Stimulation (VNS) in 15 children with therapy resistant epilepsy and to correlate possible alterations with changes in epileptiform activity and clinical effects. Fifteen children were examined with ambulatory polysomnographic recordings initially, and after 3 and 9 months of VNS-treatment. Sleep parameters, all-night delta power activity and movement times (MTs), used to account for arousals were estimated. Epileptiform activity was evaluated by spike detection. Seizure frequency was recorded in a diary. The severity of the seizures was scored with the National Hospital Seizure Severity Scale (NHS3). Quality of life (QOL) was assessed by a visual analogue scale. Behaviour problems were quantified by using the total score of the Child Behaviour Checklist (CBCL). VNS induces a significant increase in slow wave sleep (SWS) and a decrease in sleep latency and in stage 1 sleep. The number and density of MTs during total night sleep were significantly increased. There was also a significant increase in the number of MTs immediately related to the VNS stimulation periods. Of the 14 children with increased MTs, 10 had a reduction in epileptiform activity, and in clinical seizures, all had an improvement in NHS3, and 11 in QOL. Of the 10 children with increased SWS, eight also improved in QOL and eight in behaviour. Our findings indicate that VNS counteracts known adverse effects of epilepsy on sleep and increases slow wave sleep. This possibly contributes to the reported improvement in well-being. We also see an increase in MTs. This arousal effect seems to be of minor importance for QOL and could possibly be related to the antiepileptic mechanisms in VNS.


  • Tove Hallböök
  • Johan Lundgren
  • Sven Köhler
  • Gösta Blennow
  • Lars-Göran Strömblad
  • Ingmar Rosén
Enheter & grupper

Ämnesklassifikation (UKÄ) – OBLIGATORISK

  • Neurologi
  • Pediatrik


Sidor (från-till)399-407
TidskriftEuropean Journal of Paediatric Neurology
Utgåva nummer6
StatusPublished - 2005
Peer review utfördJa


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