What is SUDEP? SUDEP and Other Risks

In most cases, seizures end safely on their own, but sometimes more serious emergencies can arise. During seizures, injuries can occur such as bruises, cuts, broken bones, concussions, and head injuries. Risk of death is also higher in those with epilepsy because of the potential for accidents to occur during seizures; drowning, for example, is far more common in those with seizure disorders.

Sudden Unexpected Death in Epilepsy (SUDEP) occurs when someone dies unexpectedly without a known reason or seizure-related emergency. Rates of SUDEP are estimated at 1 in 1,000, however the risk increases in younger individuals (20-40 years of age). SUDEP is the leading cause of death in people whose seizures are not controlled.

The Epilepsy Foundation SUDEP Institute works to prevent SUDEP and support people confronting the fear and loss caused by it. Learn more about SUDEP. Citizens United for Research in Epilepsy (CURE) funds research to find the causes of epilepsy and design therapies that treat the cause. They are the leader in Sudden Unexpected Death in Epilepsy (SUDEP) research and have awarded 27 SUDEP-related grants, totaling more than $3 million, since 2004. Learn more at CURE.