Vagal nerve stimulation (VNS) is an established adjunctive treatment for patients with refractory epilepsy. VNS is effective in many cases, but few patients achieve complete elimination of seizures. Furthermore, VNS can cause respiratory complications, such as obstructive sleep apnea. This report describes the successful anesthetic management of a 28-year-old woman with a VNS device who underwent dental treatment under general anesthesia. She was morbidly obese and had undergone placement of a VNS device secondary to drug-resistant epilepsy 2 years prior but continued to experience daily epileptic seizures. Because of concerns about the risk of perioperative epileptic seizures and apneic events, use of the dedicated VNS device magnet was planned if such complications occurred. Total intravenous anesthesia was induced with propofol and remifentanil and a bispectral index sensor was used to help monitor brain wave activity for evidence of seizures along with the depth of anesthesia. Postoperatively, the patient received positional therapy and supplemental oxygen while being closely monitored in recovery. The anesthetic course was completed uneventfully without need of the VNS magnet. A thorough understanding of the mechanics of a VNS device, including proper use of the VNS magnet, is critical for an anesthesiologist during the perioperative period.
August 15, 2019
February 18, 2020
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