Sudden unexpected death in epilepsy
Sudden Unexpected Death in Epilepsy, or SUDEP is a term used when a person with epilepsy suddenly dies, and the reason for the death results from unexplained respiratory failure or cardiac arrest after seizures (this should not be confused with instances where someone suffers a prolonged seizure, such as a status epilepticus, which by itself fatally disrupts brain physiology and the normal heart rhythm, or causes respiratory insufficiency). Post mortem examination usually reveals no abnormalities in victims. Of those who die from SUDEP, it is most common in people who have generalised tonic-clonic seizures, especially in young adults age 20-50. The average age of those dying from SUDEP is estimated to be between 28–35 years, and SUDEP very rarely occurs in children. The most important 'risk factors' seem to be poor seizure control and seizures occurring during sleep.
Research has estimated that approximately 50,000 people die each year in the USA from status epilepticus (prolonged seizures), SUDEP, and other seizure-related causes. SUDEP accounts for 8-17% of deaths in people with epilepsy. Roughly 1 in 100 sufferers of severe epilepsy die of SUDEP every year. For sufferers of mild idiopathic epilepsy (epilepsy of unknown cause), the figure drops to 1 in 1,000 per year.
- Tomson T, Nashef L, Ryvlin P (November 2008). "Sudden unexpected death in epilepsy: current knowledge and future directions". Lancet Neurology 7 (11): 1021–31. doi:10.1016/S1474-4422(08)70202-3. PMID 18805738.
- eMedicine - Sudden Unexpected Death in Epilepsy : Article by Shahin Nouri
- CURE: Epilepsy Facts
- CURE: Current Recipients
- SUDEP eBrochures for download, eNewsletter signup, support at SUDEP Aware
- SUDEP awareness campaign
- Partners Against Mortality in Epilepsy 3-day conference (22-24 June 2012)
- Online book "SUDEP: continuing the global conversation"
- SUDEP described at patient.co.uk
- Citizens United for Research in Epilepsy: epilepsy facts
- Defining SUDEP at epilepsy.com
- Unmasking Silent Killer in Epilepsy, New York Times, 26 July 2010.
- About SUDEP, at EpilepsyFoundation.org
- www.SUDEP.org SUDEP support at Epilepsy Bereaved UK
- Réseau Sentinelle Mortalité Epilepsie French website
- SUDEP_literature_evaluation_synthesis_resource.pdf, Bibliographic tool for extracting value from the large scientific literature on SUDEP