Mayo Clinic Minute: SUDEP is a rare but deadly epilepsy complication

Seizures are produced by abnormal electrical activity in the brain that builds up and produces symptoms. About 1 in 26 people have epilepsy, which is a neurologic disorder that causes seizures.

And as Dr. Anthony Fine, a pediatric neurologist and epileptologist at Mayo Clinic, explains, there’s also a rare complication of epilepsy that exists which can be deadly.

It’s a rare but devasting complication of epilepsy called SUDEP.

Most cases of SUDEP happen during or immediately after a seizure. Researchers aren’t certain what causes SUDEP, but it’s possible that breathing or heart rhythm is affected by the seizure. And while it is rare, SUDEP happens to both adults and children with epilepsy.

Mayo Clinic’s Dr. Anthony Fine says, even though little is still known about SUDEP, there are recommendations to help prevent the death of a loved one.

He says it’s vitally important that SUDEP is something your healthcare team discusses with you early on if you or your child are diagnosed with epilepsy.
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