Sudden Unexpected Death in Epilepsy SUDEP


May be the cause of death when:

  • A healthy person with epilepsy dies suddenly without drowning or trauma
  • The person may or may not have had a seizure before death
  • No other reason for death is found upon exam after death
  • Person was not using illegal drugs (example: cocaine)
  • Person did not have a heart attack
  • The exact cause is not yet known

Some common theories causing SUDEP include:

  • Heart arrhythmias (abnormal heart rhythms)
  • Breathing trouble
  • Lack of protective brain chemicals
  • A combination of causes
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