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does anyone else have a vagus nerve stimulator?
#1
I would be interested to know if anyone else has a VNS. I have epilepsy and had a VNS implanted about 3 years ago in an attempt to control my seizures. (A vagus nerve stimulator consists of a small generator implanted in the upper left chest wall with a pair of leads running up to the vagus nerve. The idea is that a small electrical current applied to the nerve every tree to five minutes, more or less, will decrease seizure frequency or perhaps eliminate the seizures altogether.) When mine was first activated, my wife told me that I was making awful groaning noises in my sleep whenever the VNS cycled on. To cut to the chase here, my VNS never worked for me. While a little discomfort or pain is to be expected in the beginning, I had so much pain, choking and shortness of breath that we had to shut the thing off before we even got the current to the minimum therapeutic level. I thought I was pretty familiar with all the possible side-effects of the VNS, but in the past few months, since I realized I did indeed have apnea, I did further research and found that the VNS can cause or exacerbate sleep apnea in a certain percentage of people. Even though the current in mine is shut off, the leads are still wrapped around the nerve, and there has been some calcification around them. That in itself may have some effect on the vagus nerve, and I learned that when there is pain during activation of the VNS it could be doing long-term damage.

Anyhow, all that being said, I just wondered if anyone else might have had a VNS implanted and if it happened to correlate with the beginning or worsening of your apnea.

Thanks!
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