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BACKGROUND: Despite the well-documented utility of responsive neurostimulation (RNS, NeuroPace) in adult epilepsy patients, literature on the use of RNS in children is limited.

OBJECTIVE: To determine the real-world efficacy and safety of RNS in pediatric epilepsy patients.

METHODS: Patients with childhood-onset drug-resistant epilepsy treated with RNS were retrospectively identified at 5 pediatric centers. Reduction of disabling seizures and complications were evaluated for children (<18 >yr) and young adults (>18 yr) and compared with prior literature pertaining to adult patients.

RESULTS: Of 35 patients identified, 17 were <18 yr at the time of RNS implantation, including a 3-yr-old patient. Four patients (11%) had concurrent resection. Three complications, requiring additional surgical interventions, were noted in young adults (2 infections [6%] and 1 lead fracture [3%]). No complications were noted in children. Among the 32 patients with continued therapy, 2 (6%) achieved seizure freedom, 4 (13%) achieved ≥90% seizure reduction, 13 (41%) had ≥50% reduction, 8 (25%) had <50% reduction, and 5 (16%) experienced no improvement. The average follow-up duration was 1.7 yr (median 1.8 yr, range 0.3-4.8 yr). There was no statistically significant difference for seizure reduction and complications between children and young adults in our cohort or between our cohort and the adult literature.

CONCLUSION: These preliminary data suggest that RNS is well tolerated and an effective off-label surgical treatment of drug-resistant epilepsy in carefully selected pediatric patients as young as 3 yr of age. Data regarding long-term efficacy and safety in children will be critical to optimize patient selection.

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ePub ahead of print