Invasive neuromodulation for epilepsy: Comparison of multiple approaches from a single center

Juan Luis Alcala-Zermeno, Nicholas M. Gregg, Keith Starnes, Jayawant N. Mandrekar, Jamie J. Van Gompel, Kai Miller, Greg Worrell, Brian N. Lundstrom

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: Drug-resistant epilepsy (DRE) patients not amenable to epilepsy surgery can benefit from neurostimulation. Few data compare different neuromodulation strategies. Objective: Compare five invasive neuromodulation strategies for the treatment of DRE: anterior thalamic nuclei deep brain stimulation (ANT-DBS), centromedian thalamic nuclei DBS (CM-DBS), responsive neurostimulation (RNS), chronic subthreshold stimulation (CSS), and vagus nerve stimulation (VNS). Methods: Single center retrospective review and phone survey for patients implanted with invasive neuromodulation for 2004–2021. Results: N = 159 (ANT-DBS = 38, CM-DBS = 19, RNS = 30, CSS = 32, VNS = 40). Total median seizure reduction (MSR) was 61 % for the entire cohort (IQR 5–90) and in descending order: CSS (85 %), CM-DBS (63 %), ANT-DBS (52 %), RNS (50 %), and VNS (50 %); p = 0.07. The responder rate was 60 % after a median follow-up time of 26 months. Seizure severity, life satisfaction, and quality of sleep were improved. Cortical stimulation (RNS and CSS) was associated with improved seizure reduction compared to subcortical stimulation (ANT-DBS, CM-DBS, and VNS) (67 % vs. 52 %). Effectiveness was similar for focal epilepsy vs. generalized epilepsy, closed-loop vs. open-loop stimulation, pediatric vs. adult cases, and high frequency (>100 Hz) vs. low frequency (<100 Hz) stimulation settings. Delivered charge per hour varied widely across approaches but was not correlated with improved seizure reduction. Conclusions: Multiple invasive neuromodulation approaches are available to treat DRE, but little evidence compares the approaches. This study used a uniform approach for single-center results and represents an effort to compare neuromodulation approaches.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number108951
JournalEpilepsy and Behavior
StatePublished - Dec 2022


  • Chronic subthreshold stimulation
  • Deep brain stimulation
  • Low-frequency stimulation
  • Neurostimulation
  • Responsive neurostimulation
  • Vagus nerve stimulation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neurology
  • Clinical Neurology
  • Behavioral Neuroscience


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