Vagus nerve stimulation in patients with Lennox-Gastaut syndrome: A meta-analysis
Objectives: Lennox-Gastaut syndrome (LGS) is among the most severe epileptic and developmental encephalopathies. A meta-analysis was performed to evaluate the effectiveness of adjunctive vagus nerve stimulation (VNS Therapy) in patients with LGS. Materials & Methods: PubMed database was queried (January 1997 to September 2018) to identify publications reporting on the efficacy of VNS Therapy in patients with LGS, with or without safety findings. Primary endpoint of the meta-analysis was the proportion of responders (≥50% reduction in seizure frequency). Random-effects analysis was used to calculate weighted mean estimates and confidence intervals. Heterogeneity was evaluated by statistical tests including I2. Results: Of 2752 citations reviewed, 17 articles (480 patients) were eligible including 10 retrospective studies and seven prospective studies. A random-effects model produced a pooled proportion of 54% (95% confidence intervals [CI]: 45%, 64%) of patients with LGS who responded to adjunctive VNS Therapy (p for heterogeneity <0.001, I2=72.9%). Per an exploratory analysis, the calculated incidence of serious adverse events associated with VNS Therapy was 9% (95% CI: 5%, 14%); the rate was higher than in long-term efficacy studies of heterogeneous cohorts with drug-resistant epilepsy and likely attributed to variable definitions of serious adverse events across studies. Conclusions: The meta-analysis of 480 patients with LGS suggests that 54% of patients responded to adjunctive VNS Therapy and that the treatment option was safe and well-tolerated. The response in patients with LGS was comparable to heterogeneous drug-resistant epilepsy populations. A clinical and surgical overview has been included to facilitate the use of VNS in LGS.