What is Vagus Nerve Stimulation (VNS)?

VNS is an implanted pacemaker (first used as a treatment for epilepsy). Since 1998 it has been tested as a treatment for Difficult -to -Treat Depression (DTD). Stimulation of the left vagus nerve in the neck using electrodes- sends impulses for 30 seconds every 5 minutes. Response rates for DTD have been reported of 31-40% short term and 27-58% long-term. Further research is required. NICE recommends special arrangements for clinical governance, consent, audit, or research.

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