Ahead of Print: Anterior Nucleus Deep Brain Stimulation for Refractory Epilepsy: Insights Into Patterns of Seizure Control and Efficacious Target

BACKGROUND: Anterior nucleus (AN) deep brain stimulation (DBS) is a palliative treatment for medically refractory epilepsy. The long-term efficacy and the optimal target localization for AN DBS are not well understood.

OBJECTIVE: To analyze the long-term efficacy of AN DBS and its predictors.

METHODS: We performed a retrospective review of 16 patients who underwent AN DBS. We selected only patients with reliable seizure frequency data and at least a 1-year follow-up. We studied the duration of the seizure reduction after DBS insertion and before stimulation (the insertional effect) and its association with long-term outcome. We modeled the volume of activation using the active contacts, stimulation parameters, and postoperative imaging. The overlap of this volume was plotted in Montreal Neurological Institute 152 space in 7 patients with significant clinical efficacy.

RESULTS: Nine patients reported a decrease in seizure frequency immediately after electrode insertion (insertional or microthalamotomy effect). The duration of insertional effect varied from 2 to 4 months. However, 1 patient had a long-term insertional effect of 36 months. Altogether, 11 patients reported >50% decrease in seizure frequency with long-term stimulation. The most common pattern of seizure control was immediate and sustained stimulation benefit (n = 8). In patients with long-term stimulation benefit, the efficacious target was localized in the anteroventral AN in close proximity to the mammillothalamic tract.

CONCLUSION: AN DBS is efficacious in the control of seizure frequency in selected patients. An insertional effect is commonly observed (56%). The most efficacious site of stimulation appears to be the anteroventral AN.

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