Vagus Nerve Stimulation: Changing the Paradigm for Chronic Severe Depression?

Scott T. Aaronson, Charles R. Conway

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

9 Scopus citations


Vagus nerve stimulation (VNS) has been studied for its effect on treatment-resistant depression. Open-label studies have shown a significant positive effect in an especially treatment-resistant depressive population. Insurance company support for VNS has been limited but may be reviewed given recent positive open-label data. Coming developments in novel external ways to stimulate the vagus nerve may revive interest in this area. This article reviews the clinical development of VNS starting with the first recognition of its potential for treating depression, parses the results of several large clinical trials, and suggests a future path for optimal clinical development and use.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)409-418
Number of pages10
JournalPsychiatric Clinics of North America
Issue number3
StatePublished - Sep 2018


  • Major depression
  • Neurostimulation
  • Treatment-resistant major depression
  • Vagus nerve stimulation


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