Australian Government - Department of Health

Medical Services Advisory Committee (MSAC)

1358 - Vagus Nerve Stimulation Therapy

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Application Number1358
Application NameVagus Nerve Stimulation Therapy
Description of Medical ServiceVagus Nerve Stimulation (VNS® Therapy) Therapy is an adjunctive non-pharmacologic treatment for patients with drug-resistant partial or generalised epilepsy which can improve seizure control and quality-of-life for patients with epilepsy.

VNS® Therapy involves insertion of a small pulse generator (similar to a pacemaker) under the skin in the left chest wall and a lead attached to the left vagus nerve in the neck, to deliver precisely timed and measured electrical stimulation to the left vagus nerve. Using an external programming system (hand-held computer, software and wand), neurologists can adjust the timing and amount of stimulation the patient receives.

VNS® Therapy results in a decrease in both the rate and severity of seizures for patients where no other therapy is available.
Description of Medical ConditionEpilepsy is a disorder characterised by unprovoked recurrent seizures, a neurological state in which a region (focus) of the brain or the entire brain develops abnormal, hypersynchronous neuronal discharges. Seizures are classified as either generalised (whole brain involved from onset) or partial (regional or focal seizure onset). For the majority of patients, seizures are adequately controlled with Anti-Epileptic Drugs (AEDs). Approximately 30% of epilepsy patients do not respond to medical treatment and are termed “refractory” despite treatment with a combination of AEDs.
Consultation Protocol23 June 2014 - 18 July 2014
Consultation Protocol (PDF 572 KB)
Consultation Protocol (Word 414 KB)

Feedback Survey and Questionnaire

Feedback Survey and Questionnaire (PDF 58 KB)
Feedback Survey and Questionnaire (Word 158 KB)
Final ProtocolFinal Protocol (PDF 416 KB)
Final Protocol (Word 415 KB)
MSAC OutcomesPublic Summary Document (PDF 634 KB)
Public Summary Document (Word 199 KB)

Meetings for this Application

Meeting Type:Date:
PASC16 to 17 April 2014
14 to 15 August 2014
ESC 11 to 12 June 2015
MSAC 30 to 31 July 2015

Page currency, Latest update: 27 April, 2016