1358 - Vagus Nerve Stimulation Therapy

Page last updated: 25 October 2016

Application Detail



Description of Medical Service

Vagus Nerve Stimulation (VNS® Therapy) Therapy is an adjunctive non-pharmacologic treatment for patients with drug-resistant partial or generalised epilepsy which can improve seizure control and quality-of-life for patients with epilepsy.

VNS® Therapy involves insertion of a small pulse generator (similar to a pacemaker) under the skin in the left chest wall and a lead attached to the left vagus nerve in the neck, to deliver precisely timed and measured electrical stimulation to the left vagus nerve. Using an external programming system (hand-held computer, software and wand), neurologists can adjust the timing and amount of stimulation the patient receives.

VNS® Therapy results in a decrease in both the rate and severity of seizures for patients where no other therapy is available.

Description of Medical Condition

Epilepsy is a disorder characterised by unprovoked recurrent seizures, a neurological state in which a region (focus) of the brain or the entire brain develops abnormal, hypersynchronous neuronal discharges. Seizures are classified as either generalised (whole brain involved from onset) or partial (regional or focal seizure onset). For the majority of patients, seizures are adequately controlled with Anti-Epileptic Drugs (AEDs). Approximately 30% of epilepsy patients do not respond to medical treatment and are termed “refractory” despite treatment with a combination of AEDs.

Reason for Application

New MBS item

Medical Service Type


Previous Application Number

Not Applicable

Associated Documentation

Application Form


PICO Confirmation

Final Protocol (PDF 416 KB)
Final Protocol (Word 415 KB)

Assessment Report


Public Summary Document

Public Summary Document (PDF 634 KB)
Public Summary Document (Word 199 KB)

Meetings for this Application


16 to 17 April 2014
14 to 15 August 2014


11 to 12 June 2015


30 to 31 July 2015