Beaumont Children’s first Michigan hospital to offer new epilepsy treatment option

Thursday, November 16, 2017

Beaumont Children’s is the first Michigan children’s hospital to offer a new treatment just approved by the Food and Drug Administration for patients with drug-resistant epilepsy. The Vagus Nerve Stimulation Therapy System, also known as VNS Therapy, features the SenTiva implantable generator, one of the smallest and lightest epilepsy treatment devices available.

The programming system includes a wireless wand and interface on a small tablet. The device works by sending electrical impulses to the brain to reduce the number of seizures, lessen the duration of seizures and enable a faster recovery.

If a patient’s heart rate suddenly elevates, which is common during a seizure, the device sends a signal to the brain to try to stop the seizure.

“This device could help many children with epilepsy,” said Daniel Arndt, M.D., Beaumont Children’s pediatric epileptologist and director of the Beaumont Children’s comprehensive, multidisciplinary Pediatric Epilepsy Program. “It provides Beaumont Children’s clinicians the data necessary to identify seizure timing and frequency and eliminate or reduce the seizures.”

Karol Zakalik, M.D., a Beaumont Children’s pediatric neurosurgeon with epilepsy surgery expertise, added, “We were already using similar technology before, but this new device brings more benefits to the patient and epileptologists, yet the surgical placement is not more complicated than past models.”

In addition, the device collects and logs events commonly associated with seizures, including a patient’s body position and heart rate variations. The data helps physicians develop a personalized approach to epilepsy care.

“This allows for much more precise monitoring of patients and helps reduce the risk for sudden unexpected death in epilepsy,” Dr. Arndt said.

Beaumont Children’s has more than 30 pediatric-specific epilepsy care providers across several medical specialties. Beaumont Children’s has one of the largest pediatric epilepsy programs in the state with 4 board-certified pediatric epileptologists. It’s one of 41 Level 4 epilepsy centers in the country dedicated to pediatric care, providing the highest level diagnostic and therapeutic treatment for all types of epilepsy.

LivaNova PLC manufactures the Sentiva device. The company is based in London.