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Epilepsy Safety Devices

There are a number of devices for seizure monitoring that are now available for use in the home

They are designed to recognise that a seizure has occurred or that breathing has been disrupted, triggering an alarm so that assistance can be provided.

This is a rapidly developing area of research. Investigation into the development and the benefit of such monitors is ongoing and at this time there is no evidence to show that using an alarm or device can guarantee the safety of a person experiencing nocturnal seizures. However, some families have found monitors useful as part of a risk reduction plan. 

Speak to your clinician about whether a device is something that you might choose to use.

Because many epilepsy-related deaths occur overnight with people found lying face down there is speculation that this position may interfere with breathing and contribute to the deaths. However, the use of special pillows has not been proven to prevent death from suffocation or SUDEPSome people advocate for the use of special pillows to allow better airflow around the face. But, using such a pillow cannot guarantee the safety of a person having nocturnal seizures. The use of such pillows is a personal choice.

For further information on specific forms of safety devices, please follow the links below:

Questions to ask your clinician: 

PDF icon Safety devices questions to ask 


Want to know more about the current research into epilepsy safety devices? See below:

Professor Stephen Brown (retired Epileptologist & Professor of Developmental Neuropsychiatry and former SUDEP Action Chair of Trustees) has previously explored the ruse of monitors & alarms as part of epilepsy risks management plans -  you can read the article here. 

The Role of Devices in Managing Epilepsy Risks was explored by Dr Fergus Rugg-Gunn at SUDEP Action's Prevent21 Summit on Tackling Epilepsy Deaths (2018) and published in the journal Epilepsy & Behavior to share an overview of their potential, their challenges & key points to consider. 

A 2016 literature review led by Dr Shankar MBE, 'Safe and Sound? A systematic literature review of seizure detection methods for personal use' also looks at the current evidence available for seizure detection devices. 
The article has been recognized in Seizure (the official journal of Epilepsy Action), in which it is published, as the Editors Choice. It was awarded this by Dr Mark Reuber, the Editor in-Chief because of its ‘medical or social importance for people with epilepsy and researchers in the fields related to epilepsy.’ You can also read the editors comments here.

Another useful source of objective information can be found in this Cochrane Review on SUDEP interventions