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AAN: SUDEP Incidence 1 in 4,500 Children, 1 in 1,000 Adults/Year

TUESDAY, April 25, 2017 -- The incidence of sudden unexpected death in epilepsy (SUDEP) is 0.22 per 1,000 patient-years for children and 1.2 per 1,000 patient-years for adults, according to a new guideline published online April 24 in Neurology to coincide with the annual meeting of the American Academy of Neurology, held from April 22 to 28 in Boston.

Cynthia Harden, M.D., from Mount Sinai Health System in New York City, and colleagues conducted a systematic review of the evidence to determine the incidence rates of SUDEP in different epilepsy populations and assess risk factors for SUDEP.

The researchers found that based on 12 Class I studies, SUDEP risk in children with epilepsy was 0.22 per 1,000 patient-years. The risk increased to 1.2 per 1,000 patient-years in adults. The major risk factor for SUDEP was generalized tonic-clonic seizures (GTCS); the risk of SUDEP increased with increasing frequency of GTCS occurrence. Based on these results, the researchers recommend that clinicians should inform parents and guardians that SUDEP typically affects one in 4,500 children per year. Clinicians should inform adult patients that SUDEP typically affects one in 1,000 adults per year.

"It is important that the rate of occurrence of SUDEP and the specific risk factors for SUDEP are communicated to persons and families affected by epilepsy," Harden said in a statement. "Our guideline brings clarity to the discussion, giving health care providers practical information they can use to help people with epilepsy reduce their risk."

Several authors disclosed financial ties to pharmaceutical companies.

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Posted: April 2017