Article Text

Download PDFPDF
Sudden unexpected death in epilepsy: measures to reduce risk
  1. Brendan Mclean1,
  2. Rohit Shankar2,3,
  3. Jane Hanna4,
  4. Caryn Jory2,
  5. Craig Newman5
  1. 1 Neurology Department, Royal Cornwall Hospitals NHS Trust, Truro, , UK
  2. 2 Cornwall Partnership NHS Foundation Trust, Truro, UK
  3. 3 Exeter Medical School Truro, Exeter, UK
  4. 4 SUDEP Action, Wantage, UK
  5. 5 Department of Neuropsychology, Plymouth University, Plymouth, Devon, UK
  1. Correspondence to Dr Brendan Mclean, Neurology Department, Royal Cornwall Hospitals NHS Trust, Treliske, Truro TR1 3LJ, UK; brendan.mclean{at}


This review looks at the strategies that may help to reduce the risk of sudden unexpected death in epilepsy beyond that of trying to achieve seizure cessation, which is not possible for up to 30% of patients with epilepsy. These strategies include seizure safety checklists, mobile phone technology, telehealth and various devices currently available or in development. We highlight interventions where there is evidence of benefit, and draw attention for the need both to involve patients with epilepsy in risk reduction and to improve communication with those at risk.

  • Seizure detection devices
  • Seizure safety checklist
  • EpSMon

Statistics from

Request Permissions

If you wish to reuse any or all of this article please use the link below which will take you to the Copyright Clearance Center’s RightsLink service. You will be able to get a quick price and instant permission to reuse the content in many different ways.


  • Contributors BM wrote the first draft of the article, with additional input, references and corrections by the coauthors who also provided some of the figures.

  • Competing interests Epilepsy self-monitor (EpSMon) has been a joint development between SUDEP Action, Plymouth University, Cornwall Partnership NHS Foundation Trust and The Royal Cornwall Hospitals NHS Trust, to which the authors are affiliated. The SUDEP and Seizure Safety Checklist is a development of the Cornwall Partnership NHS Foundation Trust. EpSMon is provided as a free service in the UK. Any proceeds from the US version will be shared between the developing organisations in the UK and the USA.

  • Provenance and peer review Commissioned; externally peer reviewed. This paper was reviewed by Sam Lhatoo, Cleveland, Ohio, USA.

Other content recommended for you