Sudden Unexpected Death in Epilepsy

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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