SUDEP Action

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Patient Safety in Epilepsy monitoring units – time for change


Latest expert opinion based on evidence from international research of Epilepsy Monitoring Units is that they need to step-up their care of patients to reduce the risk of SUDEP and other serious adverse events. 

Professor Philippe Ryvlin, Lyon Neuroscience Research Center, France writing for Current Opinion in Neurology highlights in his article that serious adverse events should be a significant concern for Epilepsy monitoring units. About 10% of all patients observed during long-term monitoring experience serious adverse advents. SUDEP and near-SUDEPs were also found in more than 10% of European and Australian monitoring Units. 

Adverse events might be triggered by drug withdrawal and also aggravated by suboptimal care in some epilepsy monitoring units. Of real concern was the finding that 20% of European and 26% of US-based Epilepsy Monitoring Units did not follow recommended good practice, in particular continuous supervision by a dedicated staff.

Philippe Ryvlin, who led the research said: “Epilepsy Monitoring Units should review their current practice to ensure that current guidelines are being followed. Our research highlights the importance of surveillance in these units and that surveillance of epilepsy deaths and adverse outcomes needs to be a priority going forward”.

Jane Hanna of SUDEP Action said “This research shows the importance of surveillance and learning lessons from deaths and serious events. At SUDEP Action we will push hard to get the messages from research out to the public and make sure that vital lessons are learnt and risks are reduced“.