Mortality in pediatric epilepsy

Pediatr Neurol. 2001 Jul;25(1):9-16. doi: 10.1016/s0887-8994(01)00252-1.


Mortality in pediatric epilepsy is the subject of this review. Epilepsy in both adults and children increases the risk of premature death. Conditions that are comorbid with epilepsy may carry an increased mortality risk. Patients with neurologic compromise may be at risk for aspiration and critical respiratory disease. Epilepsy per se enhances the risks of accidents, particularly drowning. Epilepsy may result in unwitnessed or, less frequently, witnessed sudden death. Witnessed sudden death frequently involves an observed seizure. Cardiac and respiratory mechanisms for epileptic sudden death have been proposed. Reducing the number of seizures should reduce the risk for sudden death. Awareness of the increased risk for premature death associated with epilepsy may enhance patients' and parents' cooperation with therapy.

Publication types

  • Case Reports
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Accidents / mortality*
  • Adolescent
  • Brain / abnormalities*
  • Brain / physiopathology*
  • Cardiovascular Diseases / complications
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Death, Sudden / etiology*
  • Drowning / mortality
  • Epilepsy / complications
  • Epilepsy / mortality*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Lung Diseases / complications
  • Lung Diseases / etiology
  • Male
  • Risk
  • Seizures / mortality*
  • Status Epilepticus / mortality