Some patients receiving VNS Therapy report benefit from manually activating the generator with a handheld magnet at the time of a seizure. A review of 20 studies comprising 859 subjects identified patients who reported on-demand magnet mode stimulation to be beneficial. Benefit was reported in a weighted average of 45% of patients (range 0-89%) using the magnet, with seizure cessation claimed in a weighted average of 28% (range 15-67%). In addition to seizure termination, patients sometimes reported decreased intensity or duration of seizures or the post-ictal period. One study reported an isolated instance of worsening with magnet stimulation (Arch Pediatr Adolesc Med, 157, 2003 and 560). All of the reviewed studies assessed adjunctive magnet use. No studies were designed to provide Level I evidence of efficacy of magnet-induced stimulation. Retrospective analysis of one pivotal randomized trial of VNS therapy showed significantly more seizures terminated or improved in the active stimulation group vs the control group. Prospective, controlled studies would be required to isolate the effect and benefit of magnet mode stimulation and to document that the magnet-induced stimulation is the proximate cause of seizure reduction. Manual application of the magnet to initiate stimulation is not always practical because many patients are immobilized or unaware of their seizures, asleep or not in reach of the magnet. Algorithms based on changes in heart rate at or near the onset of the seizure provide a methodology for automated responsive stimulation. Because literature indicates additional benefits from on-demand magnet mode stimulation, a potential role exists for automatic activation of stimulation.
View details for DOI 10.1111/ane.12288
View details for PubMedID 25145652