Epilepsy and sudden death

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Nashef L and Brown S (1996) Epilepsy and sudden death. Lancet 348:9038 1324–5.

Link to Article

First Paragraph: In 1995, 771 epilepsy-related deaths were recorded in the United Kingdom—more than twice the number of sudden infant deaths and about half that of asthma-related deaths. Yet, it is only recently that mortality from epilepsy, as opposed to that from any underlying disease, has again been acknowledged. Whilst seizure-related accidental deaths are recognised, it is less commonly appreciated that about 1:1000 people with epilepsy, usually young and in otherwise good health, die suddenly and unexpectedly each year. In such cases, necropsy commonly shows pulmonary oedema or other organ congestion but does not reveal a cause for death.


  • Review of incidence, risk factors, and need for acurate death certificate documentation. Written to summarize Epilepsy Bereaved conference on SUDEP.