Vagus Nerve Stimulation for the Treatment of Post–COVID-19 Condition


Project Status:
Project Line:
Horizon Scan
Project Sub Line:
Health Technology Update
Project Number:
Effective finish date:

The vagus nerve has been reported to help regulate processes in the body, including digestion and respiration, as well as cardiovascular and muscular functions. It also plays a role in the nervous and immune systems and modulates inflammation responses. Researchers have hypothesized that stimulating the vagus nerve could increase autonomic nervous system activity to promote a beneficial anti-inflammatory response in people experiencing acute respiratory distress syndrome due to COVID-19.

In April 2022, the Dolphin vagal nerve stimulator device (Dolphin Neurostim) received a Health Canada emergency authorization for expanded use for the long-term effects of COVID-19. Thus, the emerging evidence suggests that stimulating the vagus nerve may be clinically effective in managing symptoms associated with post–COVID-19 condition.

Based on that, CADTH produced a Horizon Scan newsletter summarizing published studies to give health care stakeholders in Canada an overview of information related to vagal nerve stimulation for treating post–COVID-19 condition. The Horizon Scan also summarized factors to consider when implementing the technology.