Does sudden unexpected death in children with epilepsy occur more frequently in those with high seizure frequency?

Arq Neuropsiquiatr. 2009 Dec;67(4):1001-2. doi: 10.1590/s0004-282x2009000600007.


People with epilepsy are more likely to die prematurely and the most common epilepsy-related category of death is sudden unexpected death in epilepsy (SUDEP). Several studies have reported a moderate or high seizure frequency among SUDEP cases and SUDEP is considered rare in patients in remission.

Method: We reviewed the occurrence of SUDEP in our epilepsy unit over an 8-year period to identify a potential association between seizure frequency and SUDEP occurrence in children with epilepsy.

Results: From 835 patients evaluated, 12 had suffered SUDEP and nearly all of the SUDEP cases in our children are related to chronic uncontrolled epilepsy (daily--50.0%, two to four/week--41.7%, monthly--8.3%).

Conclusion: SUDEP is not a rare event in children and increased mortality was recorded in those individuals who had not responded to pharmacologic treatment. Improved seizure control seems to be one of the most important measures to prevent SUDEP.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Death, Sudden / epidemiology
  • Death, Sudden / etiology*
  • Epilepsy / complications*
  • Epilepsy / drug therapy
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Risk Factors
  • Seizures / prevention & control
  • Severity of Illness Index