A vagus nerve stimulator (VNS) is an implanted (under the skin) device with a wire attached to the vagus nerve in the neck. The vagus nerve is one of the main communication pathways between the body and the brain.
How vagus nerve stimulation works
The device is set to send a stimulus (current) up the vagus nerve to the brain to interrupt seizure activity. The device is programmed externally and a magnet can be used to send a stimulus during a seizure to stop it.
Studies show that the majority of patients report at least a 50 percent decreases in seizure occurrence with the VNS. The VNS is FDA approved for partial seizures, but has also been found to be effective for patients with generalized seizures. It is also FDA approved for treatment of depression in adults. Knowing that the VNS is approved for depression, it is not surprising that parents often report an improvement in their child’s mood with the VNS therapy.