Premature mortality among epilepsy patients is well recognized. Except a few identifiable causes of unnatural death, more than half of the epilepsy related death remains unexplained after extensive workup. These cases are classified as sudden unexpected death in epilepsy (SUDEP). SUDEP incidence varies significantly depending on the population, the methods documenting cause of death and the availability of Neuropathological examination. An accurate diagnosis of the cause of death is needed for epilepsy related death. The goal of this study is to present the relevant clinical data, the general autopsy and Neuropathology findings of epilepsy related death investigated in London Health Sciences Center during the period of 2000 to 2011. We identified 71 cases with known history of chronic epilepsy. In the 29 cases of epilepsy associated death, the causes of death have been classified as cardiac, pulmonary, accidental (e.g. drowning), toxic (e.g. drug overdose) and non-related causes. Forty two cases are considered to be SUDEP, and were categorized according to the recently proposed SUDEP Definition and Classification. Half of the SUDEP cases have no specific Neuropathological findings. The most common identifiable lesions in SUDEP cases are perinatal/neonatal destructive lesions (29%), hippocampal sclerosis (24%), and focal cortical dysplasia (20%). These are followed by neuronal heterotopia (9%), previous head trauma (9%), and cavernoma (5%).
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