Nitin Tandon, MD, UTHealth neurosurgeon and Director of Epilepsy Surgery at Mischer Neuroscience Institute at Memorial Hermann-Texas Medical Center, has successfully implanted NeuroPace®’s RNS® System technology into the skull of a 36-year-old epilepsy patient to help reduce the frequency of seizures – the first time this procedure has been done at Memorial Hermann.
“Epilepsy is a neurological condition that affects nearly three million Americans,” said Dr. Tandon. “Our patient was a severe case, with a 10-year history of seizures that were uncontrollable, frequent and affecting both his left and right hippocampi, or memory centers, and ultimately causing short-term memory loss.”
“At age 24, our otherwise healthy son experienced a grand mal seizure out of the blue and has been having regular seizures ever since,” said Jean Hawkins, mother of now 36-year-old epilepsy patient David Hawkins. “After years of unanswered questions, it was a huge relief when Dr. Tandon and his team could tell us what no one else could: where the seizures were coming from in our son’s brain. But then we were told, because the problem areas were in both his right and left medial temporal lobes, surgery was not an option. David’s epilepsy had already built up resistance to all antiseizure medications because he’d been taking them so long, so we thought we were out of options. That’s when Dr. Tandon told us about NeuroPace.”
Epilepsy is common but chronic and while many people can treat their seizures with medications, some 30 to 40 percent are severely affected and experience uncontrolled, disabling seizures. The NeuroPace® RNS® System is the first closed-loop responsive brain stimulation to treat adults with partial onset seizures that cannot be controlled with antiepileptic medications.
The technology, approved by the FDA in 2013, automatically provides treatment when it detects brain electrical activity that could lead to a seizure. The neurostimulator is placed under the scalp and into the skull, and its two leads are tailored to monitor brain activity specific to a patient while detecting patterns and delivering brief pulses of stimulation to help normalize before they experience seizures. External components to the RNS® System include a NeuroPace® Programmer and a NeuroPace® Remote Monitor. These devices track and analyze the data stored in the neurostimulator to assist with ongoing patient treatment. On average, NeuroPace patients have seen a 50 percent reduction in seizures after the first year, and up to a 70 percent reduction by year two.
“NeuroPace®’s two-lead system was a perfect solution for David, as it was essential that we monitor both sides of his brain activity,” added Dr. Tandon. “Just two months post-surgery, the patient has seen a significant reduction in the amount of seizures experienced and an added benefit of some improved cognitive ability. We are encouraged by these numbers and outcomes and excited for the future of this treatment for epilepsy, especially given the lack of other options in some of these cases.”
“Since David’s procedure, we have noticed his mood has improved tremendously, his critical thinking has also improved and he’s more alert. Maybe most importantly, it has given him hope again, which is a beautiful thing to see and translates to a better overall quality of life for our son,” said David’s father, Jack. “He is happier than I have seen him in a very long time and we are hopeful that, while he is already showing visible signs of improvement, he will only continue to get better with time.”
For more information about the Texas Comprehensive Epilepsy Program at Mischer Neuroscience Institute, or to schedule a consultation with one of our physicians, please contact Jessica Johnson at (713) 500-5443.