Paediatric sudden unexpected death in epilepsy: A parental report cohort

Abstract

Background

Sudden unexpected death in epilepsy (SUDEP) accounts for a large percentage of deaths in children with epilepsy. Contributing factors to paediatric SUDEP are incompletely understood.

Aims of Study

The Epilepsy Deaths Register (EDR) is an anonymized register that compiles information on deaths related to epilepsy, across all ages and epilepsy classifications. Using the EDR, we sought to identify key risk factors for SUDEP in children to assist the development of preventive measures.

Methods

All registrations between the ages of 1 and 16 years were reviewed to identify definite or probable SUDEP. These cases were analysed to identify common demographics, comorbidities, monitoring, treatments and circumstances near to the deaths.

Results

We identified forty‐six cases (27 males) of definite or probable SUDEP. Paediatric SUDEP is more common in a 12‐ to 16‐year age group and in those with neuro‐disability. Most paediatric SUDEP occurs during apparent sleep. There were four cases with a vagus nerve stimulator. SUDEP can occur early after the onset of seizures.

Conclusions

This is the largest single cohort of SUDEP reported in children. Reports from caregivers can augment population data. Surveillance in sleep is a priority area of development.

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