New Epilepsy Treatment in East Texas - KLTV.com - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News

9/12/02 - Tyler

New Epilepsy Treatment in East Texas

   Larry Amrstrong has been a prisoner to his epileptic seizures since he was just 13. At 46, Armstrong never thought his doctors would be able to control his seizures.

   "I was just on one medication after another," says Armstrong.

   Then Dr. Collins told his patient about a new treatment at ETMC, a small pacemaker like treatment only for epilepsy called Vagus Nerve Stimulation Therapy.

   "It's an electronic device that stimulates a little nerve along the side of the neck called the vagus nerve," says Dr. Collins. "It's implanted by our surgeons here underneath the collar bone tight on the front of the chest and the wires go underneath the skin."

   "From the way this looked, I thought it wasn't going to help me then I kept having one seizure after another, then I had 7 in one day," says Armstrong.

   Enough reason for Armstrong to sign on for the VNS procedure. He falls into the 30% of epileptics who can't treat their seizures with much success.

   "You can see the top half of this calendar almost everyday there was a seizure," says Dr. Collins "And then you can see where I wrote VNS turned on and you can see these zeroes for weeks and weeks."

   "It makes me feel a lot better," says Armstrong.

   While Armstrong still takes anti-epileptic medications now, Doctor Collins hopes to start backing of the meds. The beauty in that is the side effects from the drugs like sleepiness and staggering will likely decrease giving Armstrong a chance at a more active life.

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