According to new data, Neurology Advisor reports that vagus nerve stimulator implantation in patients with drug-resistant epilepsy may promote sleep breathing disorders.

Vagus nerve stimulation (VNS) is known to cause side effects related to laryngeal function, and may cause new-onset sleep disordered breathing, however the mechanism by which this occurs is not well-understood.

To assess the relationship, Elena Zambrelli, of the Epilepsy-Sleep Medicine Center at San Paolo Hospital in Milan, Italy, and colleagues evaluated 23 patients (16 female) with drug-resistant epilepsy who were taking antiepileptic polytherapy. All 23 patients underwent out-of-center sleep testing (OCST) before and after VNS implantation. Eighteen patients underwent a post-VNS activation endoscopic laryngeal evaluation between 1 and 10 years post-implantation in order to characterize laryngeal patterns during on and off VNS phases.

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