What is SUDEP?

SUDEP stands for Sudden Unexpected Death in Epilepsy

Sudden Unexpected Death in Epilepsy (SUDEP) is when a person with epilepsy dies suddenly and prematurely and no other reason for death is found.

SUDEP deaths are often unwitnessed with many of the deaths occurring overnight. There may be obvious signs a seizure has happened, though this isn’t always the case.

The cause of SUDEP is not yet known. Researchers are investigating a range of possibilities such as the effect of seizures on breathing and the heart.

SUDEP occurs in approximately 1 per 1000 people with epilepsy (1 in 4,500 children).

Having active seizures puts you at risk of injury and death, and there are certain types of seizure which research has shown increase a person’s risk of SUDEP. 

But researchers have identified key risk factors. that can increase risk of SUDEP – and in some cases, there are positive things that can be done to reduce risks. Our Downloads and Get Involved pages have tips on reducing risks

More information about SUDEP can be found here.

Take a look at our infographic for key facts & actions you can take to reduce risk: