June 27, 2019

Bringing Neuromodulation Therapies to Drug-Resistant Epilepsy Patients

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Image Credit: University of Alabama at Birmingham. Sandipan Pati, M.D., Department of Neurology

Despite medical and surgical advances to treat epilepsy, between 15 and 40 percent of patients continue to suffer from seizures. A significant service gap exists to bring new therapies — called neuromodulation — that could help many of these patients.

To fill this gap and improve seizure control for drug-resistant epilepsy, the University of Alabama at Birmingham created an epilepsy neuromodulation clinic. Now Sandipan Pati, M.D., assistant professor in the UAB Department of Neurology, and colleagues report on the benefits provided by this specialized clinic during 19 months of operation, in a short research article published in Epilepsia Open.

Overall, Pati says, they found improved access for patients, good communication with referring physicians, achievement of expected outcomes for reducing or eliminating seizures, and the ability to train future providers in programming neuromodulation devices. This met their benchmark goals for the clinic of rapid accessibility for patients and referring physicians, despite the challenges of running a special clinic in a busy tertiary academic center like UAB Hospital.

“Here, we have demonstrated the value of organizing a specialized clinic with a focus on rapid accessibility,” Pati said. “Having a specialized neuromodulation clinic allows efficient management of resources, like scheduling field engineers to attend the clinic and avoiding multiple visits within a week. Also, one important aspect of titrating stimulation is patient tolerability, and the clinic provided rapid access within three weeks to manage stimulation?related side effects.”

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