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Elisabeth Kaufmann, Kai Bötzel, Christian Vollmar, Jan-Hinnerk Mehrkens, and Soheyl Noachtar

OBJECTIVE

In the absence of a standard or guideline for the treatment of epilepsy patients with deep brain stimulation (DBS) of the anterior nucleus of the thalamus (ANT), systematic single-center investigations are essential to establish effective approaches. Here, the authors report on the long-term results of one of the largest single-center ANT DBS cohorts.

METHODS

The outcome data of 23 consecutive patients with transventricularly implanted electrodes were retrospectively analyzed with regard to adverse events, lead placement, stimulation-related side effects, and changes in seizure frequency. Depression and quality-of-life scores were collected in a subgroup of 9 patients.

RESULTS

All but 2 patients initially underwent bilateral implantation, and 84.4% of all DBS leads were successfully located within the ANT. The mean follow-up time was 46.57 ± 23.20 months. A seizure reduction > 50% was documented in 73.9% of patients, and 34.6% achieved an Engel class I outcome. In 3 patients, clinical response was achieved by switching the electrode contact or changing from the monopolar to bipolar stimulation mode. Unilateral implantation seemed ineffective, whereas bilateral stimulation with successful ANT implantation only on one side led to a clinical response. Double stimulation with additional vagus nerve stimulation was safe. Changes in cycling mode or stimulation amplitude influenced therapy tolerability and, only to a lesser extent, seizure frequency. Side effects were rare and typically vanished by lowering the stimulation amplitude or changing the active electrode contact. Furthermore, depression and aspects of quality of life significantly improved with ANT DBS treatment.

CONCLUSIONS

The transventricular approach as well as double stimulation proved safe. The anteroventral ANT appeared to be the most efficacious stimulation site. This systematic investigation with reluctant medication changes allowed for the development of a better idea of the association between parameter changes and outcome in ANT DBS patients, but larger samples are still needed to assess the potential of bipolar stimulation and distinct cycling frequencies. Furthermore, more multifaceted and objective assessments of treatment outcome are needed to fully assess the effects of ANT DBS treatment.

Free access

Elisabeth Kaufmann, Kai Bötzel, Christian Vollmar, Jan-Hinnerk Mehrkens, and Soheyl Noachtar

OBJECTIVE

In the absence of a standard or guideline for the treatment of epilepsy patients with deep brain stimulation (DBS) of the anterior nucleus of the thalamus (ANT), systematic single-center investigations are essential to establish effective approaches. Here, the authors report on the long-term results of one of the largest single-center ANT DBS cohorts.

METHODS

The outcome data of 23 consecutive patients with transventricularly implanted electrodes were retrospectively analyzed with regard to adverse events, lead placement, stimulation-related side effects, and changes in seizure frequency. Depression and quality-of-life scores were collected in a subgroup of 9 patients.

RESULTS

All but 2 patients initially underwent bilateral implantation, and 84.4% of all DBS leads were successfully located within the ANT. The mean follow-up time was 46.57 ± 23.20 months. A seizure reduction > 50% was documented in 73.9% of patients, and 34.6% achieved an Engel class I outcome. In 3 patients, clinical response was achieved by switching the electrode contact or changing from the monopolar to bipolar stimulation mode. Unilateral implantation seemed ineffective, whereas bilateral stimulation with successful ANT implantation only on one side led to a clinical response. Double stimulation with additional vagus nerve stimulation was safe. Changes in cycling mode or stimulation amplitude influenced therapy tolerability and, only to a lesser extent, seizure frequency. Side effects were rare and typically vanished by lowering the stimulation amplitude or changing the active electrode contact. Furthermore, depression and aspects of quality of life significantly improved with ANT DBS treatment.

CONCLUSIONS

The transventricular approach as well as double stimulation proved safe. The anteroventral ANT appeared to be the most efficacious stimulation site. This systematic investigation with reluctant medication changes allowed for the development of a better idea of the association between parameter changes and outcome in ANT DBS patients, but larger samples are still needed to assess the potential of bipolar stimulation and distinct cycling frequencies. Furthermore, more multifaceted and objective assessments of treatment outcome are needed to fully assess the effects of ANT DBS treatment.

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Mathias Kunz, Philipp Karschnia, Ingo Borggraefe, Soheyl Noachtar, Joerg-Christian Tonn, and Christian Vollmar

OBJECTIVE

Reoperation may be an option for select patients with unsatisfactory seizure control after their first epilepsy surgery. The aim of this study was to describe the seizure-free outcome and safety of repeated epilepsy surgery in our tertiary referral center.

METHODS

Thirty-eight patients with focal refractory epilepsy, who underwent repeated epilepsy surgeries and had a minimum follow-up time of 12 months after reoperation, were included. Systematic reevaluation, including comprehensive neuroimaging and noninvasive (n = 38) and invasive (n = 25, 66%) video-electroencephalography monitoring, was performed. Multimodal 3D resection maps were created for individual patients to allow personalized reoperation.

RESULTS

The median time between the first operation and reoperation was 74 months (range 5–324 months). The median age at reoperation was 34 years (range 1–74 years), and the median follow-up was 38 months (range 13–142 months). Repeat MRI after the first epilepsy surgery showed an epileptogenic lesion in 24 patients (63%). The reoperation was temporal in 18 patients (47%), extratemporal in 9 (24%), and multilobar in 11 (29%). The reoperation was left hemispheric in 24 patients (63%), close to eloquent cortex in 19 (50%), and distant from the initial resection in 8 (21%). Following reoperation, 27 patients (71%) became seizure free (Engel class I), while 11 (29%) continued to have seizures. There were trends toward better outcome in temporal lobe epilepsy and for unilobar resections adjacent to the initial surgery, but there was no difference between MRI lesional and nonlesional patients. In all subgroups, Engel class I outcome was at least 50%. Perioperative complications occurred in 4 patients (11%), with no fatalities.

CONCLUSIONS

Reoperation for refractory focal epilepsy is an effective and safe option in patients with persistent or recurrent seizures after initial epilepsy surgery. A thorough presurgical reevaluation is essential for favorable outcome.