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Clinics (Sao Paulo). 2008 Jun;63(3):389-94.

Preventing tomorrow's sudden cardiac death in epilepsy today: what should physicians know about this?

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Laboratório de Neurologia Experimental, Escola Paulista de Medicina, Universidade Federal de São Paulo, São Paulo, SP, Brasil.


Approximately 1% of the population has epilepsy, the most common neurological disorder. Moreover, people with epilepsy are more likely to die prematurely than those without epilepsy, and the most common epilepsy-related category of death is sudden unexpected death in epilepsy (SUDEP). Information concerning risk factors for SUDEP is conflicting, but potential risk factors include: age, early onset of epilepsy, duration of epilepsy, uncontrolled seizures, seizure frequency, number of antiepileptic drugs and winter temperatures. Additionally, the cause of SUDEP is still unknown; however, the most commonly suggested mechanisms are cardiac abnormalities during and between seizures. This review discusses the epidemiology, risk factors, etiology, and preventative measures in the management of SUDEP.

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