The effect of medial pulvinar stimulation on temporal lobe seizures


We investigated the effect of electrical stimulation of the medial pulvinar (PuM) in terms of its effect on temporal lobe seizures. Eight patients with drug‐resistant temporal lobe epilepsy undergoing stereoelectroencephalographic exploration were included. All had at least one electrode exploring the PuM. High‐frequency (50 Hz) stimulations of the PuM were well tolerated in the majority of them. During diagnostic stimulation to confirm the epileptogenic zone, 19 seizures were triggered by stimulating the hippocampus. During some of these seizures, ipsilateral pulvinar stimulation was applied (130 Hz, pulse width = 450 microseconds, duration = 3‐7 seconds, 1‐2 mA). Compared to non–PuM‐stimulated seizures, five of eight patients experienced clinically less severe seizures, particularly in terms of degree of alteration of consciousness. On the electrical level, seizures were more rapidly clonic with a shorter tonic phase. This proof of concept study is the first to suggest that PuM stimulation could be a well‐tolerated and effective means of therapeutic deep brain stimulation in drug‐resistant epilepsies.