SUDEP Action

Making every epilepsy death count
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Public health burden of SUDEP deserves greater attention

A study has concluded that the public health burden of SUDEP is substantial and deserves greater attention from clinicians, researchers and the public health community. The study which compares years of potential life lost from SUDEP with other selected neurological diseases has found that SUDEP ranks only second to stroke.

A systematic review of SUDEP has estimated overall crude annual incidence rate of 0.81 cases per 100,000 population, or 1.16 cases per 1,000 patients with epilepsy. The authors consider this is likely to be a conservative estimation because of underreporting of deaths. The study estimates that SUDEP resulted in 2,750 deaths in the United States and 3,994 deaths in the 28 nations of the European Union during 2013. 

Jane Hanna, CEO SUDEP Action commented: 
This estimate of incidence is important for policy makers as it highlights the importance of tackling seizures in the community. Numbers of deaths from SUDEP and indeed from epilepsy are small in comparison with deaths from other causes, but the years of lives lost, because so many of these tragic deaths are in the young, is high and deserves attention.”