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Joseph M. Sanzari Children’s Hospital Becomes First in New Jersey to Implant Responsive Neurostimulation Device in a Pediatric Patient with Epilepsy

Hackensack University Medical CenterJoseph M. Sanzari Children's HospitalNeurologyPediatrics

What you need to know

Pediatric neurosurgeon Arno Fried, M.D. has implanted the first responsive neurostimulation (RNS) device in a patient to treat drug-resistant focal epilepsy. The procedure was performed at Hackensack Meridian Joseph M. Sanzari Children’s Hospital at Hackensack University Medical Center. 

The patient, who is 16 years old, and had been treated for epilepsy for two years by Eric Segal, M.D., co-chief of Epileptology, did not see significant improvement in seizures after trying multiple anti-seizure medications. Based on seizure and treatment history, the patient was a candidate for implantation of the NeuroPace RNS® System. The system is designed to treat focal seizures, which start in one or two specific parts of the brain. 

More details on the Neurostimulation Device

Joseph M. Sanzari Children’s Hospital neurosurgeons and epileptologists first identified the area of the brain that was causing the patient’s seizures using a procedure called invasive stereoelectroencephalography (sEEG) where electrodes were placed in the brain to monitor the brain’s electrical activity for abnormalities. Neurosurgeons then implanted leads that deliver short pulses of electrical stimulation at the site in the brain where the seizures were originating and connected the leads to the neurostimulator device placed under the patient’s scalp. 

The system continuously monitors brain activity and is programmed to recognize the patient’s unique seizure patterns. If the system detects abnormal brain activity, it will automatically respond with short pulses of electrical stimulation to disrupt abnormal activity and prevent seizures before they start. Additionally, the system records and reports brain activity data to help physicians monitor patient progress, fine-tune the RNS device and deliver personalized care. 

Epilepsy is a neurological disorder caused by abnormal electrical activity in the brain. This abnormal electrical activity results in recurrent seizures that can range in severity and frequency. Approximately 1 out of 26 people in the U.S. will be diagnosed with epilepsy in their lifetime, and more than 1 million of those diagnosed will still experience seizures despite taking anti-seizure medication.