No one knows what causes Sudden Unexpected Death in Epilepsy (SUDEP), but many areas are being looked at. SUDEP occurs most often at night or during sleep and the death is not witnessed, leaving many questions unanswered.
Adults living with epilepsy have a risk of 1.2 in 1000 of SUDEP per year and in Australia this would be approximately 171 deaths. In children with epilepsy it is a rare occurrence as low as 1 in 4,500.
Current research into the possible causes of SUDEP focuses on problems with breathing, heart rhythm and brain function that occur with a seizure.
SUDEP RISK FACTORS
REDUCING THE RISK
It is important to mention SUDEP so you know about it and understand epilepsy can and does kill people. It underlines the importance of working with your doctor, family and counsellors to minimise the impact of epilepsy in your life.
Epilepsy Foundation, 2019, Sudden Unexpected Death in Epilepsy, Epilepsy Foundation https://epilepsyfoundation.org.au/managing– epilepsy/health -and-wellbeing/sudep
Epilepsy Queensland, 4 Feb 2018, SUDEP ( sudden unexpected death in epilepsy) https://www.epilepsy.com/sites/core/files/atoms/files/SUDEP%20Facts.pdf
International League Against Epilepsy ,n.d., SUDEP ( sudden unexpected death in epilepsy)viewed 10 August 2021 https://www.ilae.org/patient-care/sudep