Vagus Nerve Stimulation Indications

Vagus Nerve Stimulation Indications

Vagus-nerve stimulation (VNS) is the most common neuromodulation technique and has been approved by the FDA for treating refractory epilepsy and refractory depression.

It is being investigated in heart failure, headache, gastric motility disorders and asthma.

Although it has been used (off label) for treatment-resistant depression and other psychiatric conditions, the FDA approved indication is for adjunctive therapy for patients > 12 years old with partial-onset seizures refractory to medical treatment.

VNS may be relatively safe and effective for the fetus and mother during pregnancy, and turning off VNS during pregnancy is unnecessary. However, owing to the small sample size and short follow-up time, further research is needed 1).

see Vagus nerve stimulation for drug-resistant epilepsy.

Results suggest that vagus nerve stimulation paired with tones could become an effective therapy for the treatment of tinnitus 2).

see Vagus nerve stimulation for depression.


Ding J, Wang L, Wang C, Gao C, Wang F, Sun T. Is vagal-nerve stimulation safe during pregnancy? A mini review. Epilepsy Res. 2021 May 14;174:106671. doi: 10.1016/j.eplepsyres.2021.106671. Epub ahead of print. PMID: 34022523.

De Ridder D, Kilgard M, Engineer N, Vanneste S. Placebo-Controlled Vagus Nerve Stimulation Paired with Tones in a Patient with Refractory Tinnitus: A Case Report. Otol Neurotol. 2015 Feb 14. [Epub ahead of print] PubMed PMID: 25689839.

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