SUDEP Uncommon in Children With Epilepsy Without Cognitive Deficit

Are any SUDEP patient education resources available?
Are any SUDEP patient education resources available?
Compared with previous research, the current study found little risk for SUDEP in children without cognitive deficit.
The following article is part of live conference coverage from the 2017 American Epilepsy Society Annual Meeting in Washington, DC. Neurology Advisor’s staff will be reporting breaking news associated with research conducted by leading experts in neurology. Check back for the latest news from AES 2017.

WASHINGTON, DC – Children with epilepsy without cognitive deficit (EWOCD) are at low risk for sudden unexpected death in epilepsy (SUDEP) during childhood and mid-adulthood, according to study findings1 presented at the 2017 American Epilepsy Society Annual Meeting, December 1-5, 2017 in Washington, DC.

“The signal study by Sillanpää and Shinnarsuggested that, at the onset of epilepsy, children had a 7% lifetime risk of SUDEP, mainly in their adult years,” stated the researchers. “Our goal was to confirm or refute this assertion using the much larger Nova Scotia childhood onset, population-based epilepsy study.”

The investigators included children with EWOCD scores from Nova Scotia who presented with new-onset epilepsy between 1977 and 1985 (N=421). Follow-up data were obtained via telephone interviews with the patients or the patients’ parents. At the end of the follow-up period, the average patient age was 30.5 ± 10.5 years.

A total of 122 patients continued use of antiepileptic medications and approximately 18% were in active epilepsy. During the follow-up period, mortality occurred in 9 patients. Of these patients, the average age was 29 years±13.5 years (range, 5-40 years). According to the data, epilepsy-related cause of death was determined in 2 of the 9 cases, whereas 6 cases were associated with causes unrelated to epilepsy. Overall, investigators found no definite or probable evidence of SUDEP during the follow-up period.

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The investigators explained that, “the lower rate of remote symptomatic epilepsy (14%) than the Turku, Finland cohort (50%) may explain our different, but very reassuring results.”

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  1. Camfield P, Camfield P. SUDEP Is very uncommon in children with epilepsy and normal intelligence followed to mid adulthood: a Prospective population-based study. Presented at: 2017 American Epilepsy Society Annual Meeting. December 1-5, 2017; Washington, DC. Abstract 1.211.
  2. Sillanpää M, Shinnar S. SUDEP and other causes of mortality in childhood-onset epilepsy. Epilepsy Behav. 2013;28:249-255.