Ictal hypoventilation contributes to cardiac arrhythmia and SUDEP: report on two deaths in video-EEG-monitored patients

Epilepsia. 2010 May;51(5):916-20. doi: 10.1111/j.1528-1167.2009.02513.x. Epub 2010 Feb 3.


Sudden unexplained death in epilepsy (SUDEP) is a common cause of death in patients with epilepsy, with cardiorespiratory dysfunction and a primary cessation of cerebral function proposed as causes. We report two cases of SUDEP in patients with intractable temporal lobe epilepsy undergoing video-EEG (electroencephalography) telemetry at two centers. Both had secondarily generalized convulsions. EEG, electrocardiography (ECG), and respiratory changes in these two patients are reported herein. Ictal/postictal hypoventilation may contribute to SUDEP with the resulting hypoxemia and acidosis leading to failure of recovery of cortical function and eventual cardiac failure.

Publication types

  • Case Reports
  • Comparative Study
  • Multicenter Study

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Arrhythmias, Cardiac / etiology
  • Cause of Death
  • Death, Sudden / etiology*
  • Electrocardiography
  • Electroencephalography / statistics & numerical data*
  • Epilepsy, Temporal Lobe / diagnosis
  • Epilepsy, Temporal Lobe / mortality*
  • Epilepsy, Temporal Lobe / physiopathology
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Hypercapnia
  • Hypoventilation / complications*
  • Hypoventilation / epidemiology
  • Hypoxia
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Monitoring, Physiologic
  • Telemetry
  • Video Recording
  • Videotape Recording