MANHASSET, NY – The Comprehensive Epilepsy Care Center at North Shore-LIJ’s Cushing Neuroscience Institute is one of the first on Long Island to use a new, implantable device to detect abnormal electrical activity in the brain and then uses electrical stimulation to normalize brain activity before the patient experiences seizures.
The procedure using NeuroPace®, which is a responsive neurostimulator (RNS), was recently performed at North Shore University Hospital, part of the North Shore-LIJ Health System, on 41-year-old Angela Dejesus from Fresh Meadows, NY.
“This new technology is beneficial to patients who have intractable epilepsy and have seizures coming from one or two areas of the brain where resection surgery is not an option due to risk of losing memory or other vital neurologic functions,” said Cynthia L. Harden, MD, North Shore-LIJ’s chief, division of epilepsy and electroencephalography.
The NeuroPace RNS is a programmable, battery-powered, microprocessor-controlled device that delivers a short train of electrical pulses to the brain through implanted leads. The neurostimulator is implanted in the cranium and connected to one or two leads that are implanted near the patient's seizure focus.
Ashesh Mehta, MD, PhD, director of epilepsy surgery at North Shore-LIJ’s Comprehensive Epilepsy Care Center, performed the procedure on Ms. Dejesus. “Since Angela’s seizures originate from not one, but both temporal lobes, it is not possible to surgically remove the seizure-producing areas without causing memory impairment. Therefore, she was a good candidate for the NeuroPace implant, which temporarily inactivates an area rendering it incapable of generating a seizure.”
The NeuroPace RNS device is programmed to respond to a seizure discharge detected by the electrodes placed in the brain. Immediately after the device is implanted, it is set to record brain activity for approximately one month.
A few days after the implant surgery, Ms. Dejesus was discharged and sent home with a wand-like detector that once a day she will wave over the spot where the NeuroPace implant was inserted. This detector records the signals from the brain, pinpointing the seizure-producing areas and then stores this information on a laptop computer. The purpose of the initial recording allows the epilepsy doctor to review the recorded information and determine which specific brain activity leads to a seizure. The recorded information allows North Shore-LIJ’s neurology team to accurately detect where the seizures are coming from and how much electrical stimulation will be needed to prevent the seizures from progressing.
After this initial one-month period of recording brain activity, the device is turned on by North Shore-LIJ’s neurology team and is programmed to discharge electrical stimulation when the specific seizure activity occurs and thereby, electrically stops the seizure occurrence.
“We know from clinical trials, that once the neurostimulator is turned on, patients have experienced greater than a 50 percent reduction in their seizures,” said Dr. Mehta. “Most patients will experience a reduction within the first few weeks after the battery is turned on, however, peak reduction in seizures can be more noticeable in six months to a year. We are confident that the NeuroPace RNS is a great step forward for patients with epilepsy and we are glad to offer this new technology to our patients.”
About North Shore-LIJ’s Comprehensive Epilepsy Care Center:
The Comprehensive Epilepsy Care Center is a truly integrated and multidisciplinary endeavor, with epilepsy doctors, nurses, pharmacists, neurosurgeons, neuropsychologists, social workers, technical staff and an administrative team, all working together to provide care and support for patients with epilepsy. It is the largest and most comprehensive program on Long Island for the evaluation and medical and surgical treatment of epilepsy. Patients and families benefit from a unique and multidisciplinary model of care, integrating the expertise of clinical staff and the availability of cutting-edge technology to enable accurate diagnosis, effective treatment and improved quality of life. For more information about the Comprehensive Epilepsy Care Center, go to neurocni.com or call (516) 325-7060.