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Volume : 27  Issue : 1  Year: 2021

Sudden Unexpected Death in Epilepsy (SUDEP): an overview [Epilepsi]
Epilepsi. 2013; 19(3): 91-96 | DOI: 10.5505/epilepsi.2013.66588  

Sudden Unexpected Death in Epilepsy (SUDEP): an overview

Torbjörn Tomson, Olafur Sveinsson
Department Of Clinical Neuroscience, Karolinska Institutet, And Department Of Neurology, Karolinska University Hospital, Stockholm, Sweden

Sudden Unexpected Death in Epilepsy (SUDEP) has gained increased awareness over the last 2-3 decades. SUDEP is generally defined as the sudden, unexpected, witnessed or unwitnessed, non-traumatic, and non-drowning death in patients with epilepsy with or without evidence for a seizure, and excluding documented status epilepticus, in which postmortem examination does not reveal a structural or toxicologic cause for death. Sudden death is at least 20 times more common in people with epilepsy compared with the general population. The risk of SUDEP, however, varies widely within the epilepsy population, being the highest in patient with chronic treatment resistent epilepsy. There are probably a number of different mechanisms behind SUDEP, but most research has focused on seizure-related respiratory depression, cardiac arrhythmia, cerebral depression and autonomic dysfunction. Since the frequency of tonic-clonic seizures is the largest risk factor, effective treatment for epilepsy is the best prevention for SUDEP.



Torbjörn Tomson, Olafur Sveinsson. Sudden Unexpected Death in Epilepsy (SUDEP): an overview. Epilepsi. 2013; 19(3): 91-96

Corresponding Author: Torbjörn Tomson, Sweden


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