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Death in Unverricht–Lundborg disease


The objective of this study is to report cases of unexpected deaths in Unverricht–Lundborg disease (ULD) patients, a comparatively benign form of progressive myoclonus epilepsy. We performed a multicentric study of the circumstances of death in ULD patients seen in the last 16 years. We assessed age, sex, severity and duration of disease, antiepileptic drugs, circumstances and presumed cause of death. Nineteen observations (12 females, 7 males) were collected from four centers (Tunis, Marseille, Milan, Belgrade). The most common causes of death are (1) SUDEP (six cases, all female), with 4/6 on phenobarbital alone, and (2) complications of severe ULD (six cases). Two patients committed suicide. Only one death was clearly unrelated to ULD (car accident), while four patients died of stroke, drowning, complications of chronic alcoholism and Wernicke encephalopathy, respectively. In conclusion, although the prognosis of ULD has progressed, there are still spontaneously severe forms and high risk of early death, including SUDEP.

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Correspondence to Hela Mrabet Khiari.

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Khiari, H.M., Franceschetti, S., Jovic, N. et al. Death in Unverricht–Lundborg disease. Neurol Sci 30, 315–318 (2009).

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  • Multicentric study
  • Unverricht Lundborg disease
  • Epilepsy
  • Death