Mortality and Sudden Unexpected Death in Epilepsy (SUDEP)

  • Thalia Valeta


Epilepsy is associated with an increased risk of death, 2–3 greater than in the general population. This excess is mainly related to associated or underlying disease that has caused epilepsy (structural lesions, infections, tumours), accidents and drowning because of seizures, and convulsive status epilepticus. Sudden unexpected death in epilepsy (SUDEP) is a less common reason for the increased mortality in epilepsy and may be the result of the direct effect of an epileptic (usually convulsive) seizure on the cardiorespiratory (heart and lungs) system or the brain itself. Most cases of SUDEP involve young patients (from late teens to late forties) with a long history of tonic-clonic seizures. Frequently SUDEP occurs in sleep. In many patients antiepileptic drug levels are generally low.


Epilepsy bereaved SUDEP aware Standardised mortality ratio Tonic clonic seizures Nontraumatic death Nondrowning death 


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  • Thalia Valeta
    • 1
    • 2
  1. 1.First Neurology and Psychiatry ClinicUniversity of Athens, Aeginition HospitalAthensGreece
  2. 2.Department of Clinical Neurophysiology and EpilepsiesSt. Thomas’ HospitalLondonUK

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