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Ir J Med Sci. 2010 Dec;179(4):585-7. doi: 10.1007/s11845-010-0519-x. Epub 2010 Jul 24.

"Dead in bed": a tragic complication of type 1 diabetes mellitus.

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Department of Endocrinology and Diabetes Mellitus, Beaumont Hospital and RCSI Medical School, Beaumont, Dublin 9, Ireland.


"Dead in bed" is a tragic description of a particular type of sudden death in type 1 diabetes mellitus (DM). Patients are typically found dead in the early morning, lying in an undisturbed bed, having been well the previous evening. The incidence of "dead in bed" syndrome is not known but studies suggest figures of between 4.7 and 27.3% of all unexplained deaths in type 1 DM. The pathogenesis is unclear but patients typically have a preceding history of recurrent severe hypoglycaemia. We describe two cases of "dead in bed" syndrome which occurred at our institution within a 12-month period.

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