J Clin Neurol.  2021 Jul;17(3):385-392. 10.3988/jcn.2021.17.3.385.

Effect of Long-Term Treatment with Vagus Nerve Stimulation on Mood and Quality of Life in Korean Patients with Drug-Resistant Epilepsy

  • 1Department of Neurology, Neuroscience Center, Samsung Medical Center, Samsung Biomedical Research Institute, Samsung Advanced Institute for Health Sciences & Technology (SAIHST), Sungkyunkwan University School of Medicine, Seoul, Korea
  • 2Sleep Disorders Center, Department of Neurology, Soonchunhyang University College of Medicine, Cheonan Hospital, Cheonan, Korea


Background and Purpose
This study aimed to determine the long-term effects of vagus nerve stimulation (VNS) treatment on suicidality, mood-related symptoms, and quality of life (QOL) in patients with drug-resistant epilepsy (DRE). We also investigated the relationships among these main effects, clinical characteristics, and VNS parameters.
Among 35 epilepsy patients who underwent VNS implantation consecutively in our epilepsy center, 25 patients were recruited to this study for assessing the effects of VNS on suicidality, mood-related symptoms, and QOL. The differences in these variables between before and after VNS treatment were analyzed statistically using paired t-tests. Multiple linear regression analyses were also performed to determine how the patients’ demographic and clinical characteristics influenced the variables that showed statistically significant changes after long-term VNS treatment.
After VNS, our patients showed significant improvements not only in the mean seizure frequency but also in suicidality, depression, and QOL. The reduction in depression was associated with the improvement in QOL and more-severe depression at baseline. The reduction in suicidality was associated with higher suicidality at baseline, smaller changes in depression, and less-severe depression at baseline. Improved QOL was associated with lower suicidality at baseline.
This study found that VNS decreased the mean seizure frequency in patients with DRE, and also improved their depression, suicidality, and QOL. These results provide further evidence for therapeutic effect of VNS on psychological comorbidities of patients with DRE.


epilepsy; vagus nerve stimulation; suicidality; depression; quality of life
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