Arno Fried, M.D., Director of Pediatric Neurosurgery and Attending Neurosurgeon at Atlantic Health’s Morristown Medical Center, is one of the few neurosurgeons in the US that is board certified in both general neurosurgery and pediatric neurosurgery. He is a renowned physician with a portfolio of accolades and is seen as an innovator in the fields of neurosurgery, brain tumor surgery, and epilepsy surgery for both children and adults.
Last month, Fried successfully implanted the first ever responsive neurostimulation device into a patient suffering from drug-resistant focal epilepsy.
About 1 in 26 Americans will be diagnosed with epilepsy, a neurological disorder caused by abnormal electrical brain activity, in their lifetime. The condition often presents as recurrent seizures and can have a wide range of severity. Drug-resistant epilepsy is considered when a patient still experiences seizures even under the therapy of two or more anti-seizure medications. This type of epilepsy affects more than one million diagnosed patients.
The patient who received the first ever RNS implant is a 16 year old who was receiving treatment for his epilepsy for two years without any improvement. He was previously under the care of Eric Segal, M.D., co-chief of Epileptology. Based on the patient’s medical history, they were a perfect candidate for the NeuroPace RNS® System, an implant designed specifically for the treatment of focal drug-resistant epilepsy.
“Although research is ongoing, RNS has the potential to help young patients with focal seizures fully participate in everyday activities, such as school and sports, while reducing seizure-related stress for children and parents,” said Dr. Fried.
“Clinical trials of the RNS System in adults have shown about 70-percent median reduction in seizures and improvements in quality of life — including less worry about future seizures, improved mental and physical health, and improvements in their ability to think and remember,” said Dr. Segal.
The procedures took place at Joseph M. Sanzari Children’s Hospital at Hackensack University Medical Center. Surgeons first identified the area of the patient’s brain that was causing the frequent seizures by means of stereoelectroencephalography. This method uses electrodes to monitor electrical abnormalities in the brain and shows surgeons where the implant must be placed so that it can deliver short pulses of electrical stimulation to the area that is responsible for the seizures.
The NeuroPace RNS® System not only treats the patient but actively monitors electrical brain activity in order to recognize unique seizure patterns and automatically respond to the patient’s needs. The device can prevent seizures before they start as well as collect invaluable data for the patient’s health care providers to actively monitor and study the patient’s condition and offer personalized care.
“Our pediatric neurosurgeons and epileptologists are providing patients with access to the latest technology and treatment options,’’ said Judy Aschner, M.D., physician-in-chief for Hackensack Meridian Children’s Health. “RNS is a breakthrough technology that provides another treatment option for patients with seizures who don’t respond to medication.”
“The ability to offer RNS technology that detects abnormal brain activity and stops seizures before they start has life-changing potential for people with epilepsy,” said Mark Sparta, FACHE, president and chief hospital executive, Hackensack University Medical Center and executive vice president, Population Health, Hackensack Meridian Health. “We are proud to offer our youngest patients and their families this hopeful treatment.
Hackensack Meridian Children’s Health provides comprehensive and quality care to its young patients in the state of New Jersey. Joseph M. Sanzari Children’s Hospital and K. Hovnanian Children’s Hospital along with a large network of specialists work together to serve the children in the state.