Who is at Risk for SUDEP?

Friday, July 15, 2011

In the June 2011 issue of the journal Epilepsia, Drs. Hesdorffer and colleagues from a number of institutions from both the United States and Europe present an analysis of four case-controlled studies from the United States, Sweden, Scotland and England to define particular risk factors of individuals who may be at risk for SUDEP (sudden unexpected death in epilepsy). Early onset refractory symptomatic epilepsy with frequent generalized tonic-clonic seizures and needing to take more than one anti-epileptic drug appear to be important predictors. The results also suggest that reduction in the number of generalized tonic-clonic seizures is a priority and of more importance than reducing the number of anti-epileptic drugs as an individual risk factor.

This research is an important study because it helps to further our knowledge of identifying individuals early on in their condition who may be at risk for sudden death from seizures. Further work needs to be done in order to understand these risk factors fully and also to develop strategies on how to prevent SUDEP from occurring.

Authored by: Joseph I Sirven, MD on 7/2011

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