There are nearly 70 million epilepsy patients. Around 12-14 million people are from India and have recurrent seizures.
The neurologists at the All India Institute of Medical Science (AIIMS) are now able to provide a new kind of treatment to control seizures of people who have drug-resistant epilepsy. The therapy – Vagus Nerve Stimulation (VNS) – helps to reduce recurrent seizures or fits in cases where patients do not respond to medication.
As per the doctors: The new treatment is done through a small pacemaker-shaped device fixed under the chest-skin, which is connected to the left vagus nerve of the brain by a lead. This is how the recurrent seizures are suppressed.
Studies have shown that 7 out of 10 epileptic patients respond to combination of drugs.
One such patient was advised a surgical procedure to remove the brain-part which generates the recurrent seizures. But, when he reached AIIMS, the doctors found out that multiple areas of his brain were responsible for generating the recurrent seizures and the surgical procedure was not possible in his case.
Neurology professor Dr Manjari Tripathi, specialist in epilepsy at AIIMS, told media, “After complete examination with a video electroencephalogram (EEG) documenting several seizures, SPECT, PET and MEG for pre-surgical evaluation, we noticed that multiple areas of the patient’s brain were producing recurrent seizures. The surgery was not a wise-idea and the operation could have resulted in permanent damage to his brain. So we suggested the VNS therapy to suppress the fits.”
“Treatment at AIIMS is comparatively cheaper than other hospitals and it also avails a complete testing,” she added.
Dr Sarat Chandra, neurosurgery professor at AIIMS, said, “When we implanted the VNS device into the patient we saw a dramatic improvement in his health. The intensity and duration of the recurrent seizures have also reduced.”