Angels of Epilepsy

A 501(c)(3) Non-Profit Organization

What is SUDEP?

SUDEP is a rare condition in which people with epilepsy die without a clear cause. It accounts for less than 2% of deaths among people with epilepsy. The risk is about 1 in 3,000 per year for all people with epilepsy. It can be as high as 1 in 300 for those who have frequent, uncontrollable seizures and take high doses of seizure medicines. SUDEP is extremely rare in children.

The person is often found dead in bed and doesn't appear to have had a convulsive seizure. About a third of them do show evidence of a seizure close to the time of death. They are often found lying face down.

No one is sure about the cause of death in SUDEP. Some researchers think that a seizure causes an irregular heart rhythm. More recent studies have suggested that the person may suffocate from impaired breathing, fluid in the lungs, and being face down on the bedding.