Hong Kong Med J 2002;8:354-8 | Number 5, October 2002
Sudden unexpected death in epilepsy
SD Lhatoo, JWAS Sander
Department of Neurology, Institute of Clinical Neurosciences, Frenchay Hospital, Bristol, BS6 7AB, United Kingdom
Sudden unexpected death in epilepsy is the most common category of seizure-related death in patients who develop chronic epilepsy, accounting for up to 17% of epilepsy deaths. Sudden unexpected death in epilepsy is defined as a sudden, unexpected, non-accidental death in an individual with epilepsy with or without evidence of a seizure having occurred (excluding documented status epilepticus) and where autopsy does not reveal an anatomical or toxicological cause of death. Incidence rates range between 0.35 and 2.7 per 1000 person-years in the population-based studies and between 1.5 and 9.3 per 1000 person-years in selected cohorts. Seizure frequency appears to be an important factor in sudden unexpected death in epilepsy, although the exact pathogenetic mechanisms involved are unclear.
Key words: Death, sudden; Epilepsy; Risk factors; Seizures
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