With the new model of a Vagal Nerve Stimulator (VNS), our neurology team can pre-program our epilepsy patients treatment months in advance - meaning they can visit the hospital less often.
For people living with drug-resistant epilepsy, one treatment option is a VNS implant, which is programmed to deliver pulses to the vagal nerve, to control or prevent seizures.
The VNS is programmed to a patient’s treatment plan and in the past, needed to be updated by a neurologist every two-weeks. The new model is great for our patients as it means their visits to the hospital will be less frequent.
The VNS device is implanted under the skin of the chest and attached to the vagus nerve in the neck. It acts similar to what a pacemaker does for the heart – the device delivers pulses to the vagus nerve with the aim to reduce the number of seizures and their severity and length– or eliminate them completely.
A/Prof Martin Hunn, Alfred’s Head of Neurosurgery, recently implanted the new SenTiva VNS device on the first public patient in Australia.
"It is great to have this option available for our patients - especially our rural patients. It's exciting we're the first hospital in Victoria that has access to this new device and to know we have the highly specialised neurology team for it," said A/Prof Hunn.