Electrical auricular vagus nerve stimulation for pain

Scott A, Hofer V, Al Froukh RF, Ma N
Record ID 32018004895
Authors' objectives: Pain is one of the main causes for people to seek medical help. One approach for relieving pain is auricular vagus nerve stimulation (aVNS), which uses a stimulation unit and surface electrodes on the ear to transmit weak electrical current pulses along the vagus nerve to the brain in order to influence pain. This systematic review evaluates the efficacy and safety of aVNS for pain relief in patients with acute postoperative and chronic pain.
Authors' results and conclusions: In total, four RCTs on acute postoperative pain and six RCTs on chronic pain were included. The comparison groups received standard therapy or sham treatment. Regarding postoperative pain, aVNS showed improvement in rebound pain after anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) reconstruction. For chronic pain, improvement was observed in gastrointestinal pain, migraine without aura, and myofascial pain syndrome. Adverse (device-related) events were rare. The overall evidence of effectiveness and safety was rated as very low to high. The use of aVNS for postoperative and chronic pain was found to be an effective and safe adjunctive therapy in selected patients and indications.
Project Status: Completed
Year Published: 2023
URL for additional information: https://eprints.aihta.at/1457/
English language abstract: An English language summary is available
Publication Type: Full HTA
Country: Austria
MeSH Terms
  • Vagus Nerve Stimulation
  • Ear Auricle
  • Chronic Pain
  • Pain, Postoperative
  • Pain Management
  • Pain reduction
  • postoperative pain
  • chronic pain
  • auricular vagus nerve stimulation
  • systematic review
Organisation Name: Austrian Institute for Health Technology Assessment
Contact Address: Garnisongasse 7/20, A-1090 Vienna, Austria
Contact Name: office@aihta.at
Contact Email: office@aihta.at
This is a bibliographic record of a published health technology assessment from a member of INAHTA or other HTA producer. No evaluation of the quality of this assessment has been made for the HTA database.