Deaths from epilepsy: What next?

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Smithson WH and Hanna NJ (2002) Deaths from epilepsy: What next? Br J Gen Pract 52:483 795–6.

Link to Article

First Paragraph: A recent national sentinel audit of epilepsy related deaths suggests that there are shortcomings in the care of people with epilepsy in the United Kingdom. This audit, driven and managed by a charity, gained the attention both of the media (it was front page news in The Times and was on the BBC national news) and Chief Medical Officers in the UK. An action plan for England is promised this summer. Action has been long in coming. Despite the generally benign nature of epilepsy, sudden death from epilepsy has been known for over 130 years. It is a global problem and carries a mortality risk worldwide, with an increased standard mortality rate (SMR) of between 2.0 and 5.4.


  • Comment on the Sentinel Report. Discusses the finding that the standard mortality ration in epilepsy is comparable or higher to that of other chronic conditions, though less often discussed. Argues that not informing patients with GTCS or poorly controlled epilepsy about their increased risk of death is unacceptable.