When should the magnet be used?
The magnet can be used anytime during a seizure, but it is most likely to work when it is used towards the beginning of a seizure. Use the magnet if...
- You feel a warning or sense that a seizure may be coming.
- At the start of a seizure.
- When someone notices that you are having seizure activity or anytime during a seizure.
How do I use the magnet when a seizure occurs?
- The magnet can be used by the person with seizures or by another person.
- Swipe the magnet across the generator under the skin (usually on the left side of the chest) for one second – start in the middle of the chest and swipe across the generator, counting ‘one, one thousand’.
- Wait 1 to 2 minutes (depending on how long the magnet is programmed to deliver stimulation) and if the seizure is still going on, swipe the magnet across the generator again.
- Don’t hold the magnet over the generator – the magnet will turn the generator off as long as it is held over the device for at least 6 seconds. Removing the magnet will cause the device to go back to its programmed stimulation cycles.
- Avoid overstimulation- if more than 4 hours of constant stimulation occurs, damage to the vagus nerve could occur.
What should I teach others about using the magnet?
- People who have the VNS implanted should teach others how and when to use the magnet as part of seizure first aid.
- Make sure other people know what your seizures look like and how to recognize when you are having a seizure.
- Ask others to still provide basic care and comfort seizure first aid and make sure you are safe during a seizure.
- Show them how to use the magnet and let them practice when you aren’t having a seizure.
- Make sure they know when to use the magnet or if they notice you having a seizure.
- If the magnet doesn’t work or seizures continue, make sure others know when to call for emergency help. The VNS magnet is NOT an emergency treatment for seizures.
Reviewed by: Patricia O. Shafer RN MN on 2/2014