Epilepsy-Related Deaths in Children

Sudden Unexpected Death in Epilepsy (SUDEP) is defined as the death of an otherwise healthy person with epilepsy that occurs either after a seizure or sometimes when there is no recent seizure activity. It is thought to cause 1 death per 1000 per year, with slightly lower rates in children.

Risk factors for SUDEP include having epilepsy for a long period of time, having drug-resistant generalized tonic-clonic seizures, and having seizures at night. It's also unknown what risk factors may be specific for children.

Dr. Donner, the Head of the Epilepsy Program at the Hospital for Sick Children, is currently working with Dr. Michael Pollanen, the Chief Forensic Pathologist in Ontario, to examine epilepsy-related deaths in children across the province. In addition to this work, Dr. Donner has also started a registry for SUDEP deaths in Canadian children. The SUDEP research program seeks answers to two important questions: Who is most at risk of SUDEP? and How can we better inform people with epilepsy about SUDEP?

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