Patients who have seizures at night are more likely to die suddenly from epilepsy, according to a recent study that compared seizures occurring while patients were awake to those who experienced them during sleep.
- Researchers point out that patients with epilepsy are 20 times more likely to experience sudden death, compared with the general public.
- The most frequent risk factor for these deaths is uncontrolled seizures.
- Researchers tracked respiratory parameters, comparing adults with epilepsy during wake and sleep periods.
- Sleep-related seizures were linked to lower oxygen saturation when compared with wakeful seizures, and this association remained significant during the ictal and postictal periods.
- Sleep-related seizures were also associated with greater drops in saturation.
- Postseizure EEG suppression occurred more often after sleep-related seizures as well.
- Researchers concluded that sudden unexpected death in epilepsy (SUDEP) is more likely to happen during sleep and that it is linked to more severe and longer occurrences of hypoxemia.
Latreille V, Abdennadher M, Dworetzky BA, et al. Nocturnal seizures are associated with more severe hypoxemia and increased risk of postictal generalized EEG suppression. Epilepsia. 2017;58(9):e127-e131.