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sudden unexplained death in epilepsy

A diagnosis which requires an autopsy for the death to be so labelled, which is defined as a “…sudden (in minutes to hours), unexpected (i.e., in his or her usual state of health during normal activities), witnessed or unwitnessed, non-traumatic and non-drowning death in a patient with known epilepsy, with or without evidence of seizure and excluding documented status epilepticus, in which post-mortem examination doesn’t reveal an anatomical or toxicologic cause of death.”

By definition, SUDEP is a diagnosis of exclusion and not due to any medical cause of death, respiratory disease (e.g., suffocation, asphyxia, aspiration, apnoea or respiratory failure), neurogenic pulmonary oedema, or cardiac disease (e.g., sympathetic (arrhythmias) or parasympathetic (bradycardia, asystole) activity). Post-mortem examinations in such patients is intended to exclude microscopic causes of death, e.g., myocardial fibrosis, pulmonary oedema, cerebral oedema.
Segen's Medical Dictionary. © 2012 Farlex, Inc. All rights reserved.


sudden unexpected (or unexplained) death in epilepsy.
Medical Dictionary, © 2009 Farlex and Partners
References in periodicals archive ?
The exact cause of SUDEP is not known, but it is thought that seizure activity in the brain may cause changes in the person's heartbeat or breathing.
The objective of the SUDEP Programme is to assist local authorities in responding to the sustainable energy challenges and to enable them to implement sustainable energy actions leading to energy savings, energy efficiency and more use of renewable energy sources such as solar energy.
It is known that patients with epilepsy can experience disrupted heart rate variability and changes in its circadian rhythm with negative clinical consequences such as dysrhythmias and possibly sudden unexpected death in epilepsy (SUDEP) [49].
Both descriptive and inferential statistical analyses were performed through the parameters of demographical data, physical properties, incident features, macroscopic--microscopic autopsy findings, and cause of death initially for all cases and then separately for SUDEP cases.
According to charity Epilepsy Action, SUDEP kills one in every 1,000 adults who were previously in their usually healthy state.
This association is underreported and could possibly be a cause of Sudden Unexpected Death in Epilepsy (SUDEP), but if early diagnosed and properly treated, it is associated with low mortality and is considered reversible in most of the cases.
Additionally, recurrence is associated with sudden unexplained death in epilepsy (SUDEP) in 3% of cases [5].
Among the different seizure subtypes, generalized tonic-clonic seizures are most disabling due to loss of consciousness, the potential to cause physical injuries, and cardiorespiratory compromise including SUDEP (Sudden Unexpected Death in Epilepsy) [1, 2].
| For more about reducing the risks around epilepsy and SUDEP, visit or call the Epilepsy Society Helpline on 01494 601400.
Carwyn Roberts lost 18-year-old brother Dylan Roberts nine years ago to a condition known as Sudden Unexpected Death in Epilepsy (sudep).