Sudden unexpected death in epilepsy (SUDEP) is a devastating complication of epilepsy and is not rare. The NIH and National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke sponsored a 3-day multidisciplinary workshop to advance research into SUDEP and its prevention. Parallel sessions were held: one with a focus on the science of SUDEP, and the other with a focus on issues related to the education of health care practitioners and people with epilepsy. This report summarizes the discussions and recommendations of the workshop, including lessons learned from investigations of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS), sudden cardiac death, autonomic and respiratory physiology, medical devices, genetics, and animal models. Recommendations include educating all people with epilepsy about SUDEP as part of their general education on the potential harm of seizures, except in extenuating circumstances. Increasing awareness of SUDEP may facilitate improved seizure control, possibly decreasing SUDEP incidence. There have been significant advances in our understanding of the clinical and physiologic features of SIDS, sudden cardiac death, and SUDEP in both people and animals. Research should continue to focus on the cardiac, autonomic, respiratory, and genetic factors that likely contribute to the risk of SUDEP. Multicenter collaborative research should be encouraged, especially investigations with direct implications for the prevention of SUDEP. An ongoing SUDEP Coalition has been established to facilitate this effort. With the expansion of clinical, genetic, and basic science research, there is reasonable hope of advancing our understanding of SUDEP and ultimately our ability to prevent it.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Clinical Neurology