(Abstract from PubMed)
"Sudden unexpected death in epilepsy (SUDEP) is one of the most important direct epilepsy-related causes of death, with an incidence in adults of 1.2 per 1000 person years. Generalized tonic-clonic seizures have consistently emerged as the leading risk factor for SUDEP, particularly when such seizures are uncontrolled. High seizure burden, lack of antiepileptic drug (AED) treatment, polytherapy, intellectual disability, and prone position at the time of death are other key risk factors. Unfortunately, despite advances in treatment, overall mortality rates in epilepsy are rising. It is imperative that we learn more about SUDEP so that effective prevention strategies can be implemented. To help identify persons at greater risk of SUDEP and in need of closer monitoring, biomarkers are needed. Candidate biomarkers include electrocardiographic, electroencephalographic, and imaging abnormalities observed more frequently in those who have died suddenly and unexpectedly. As our knowledge of the pathophysiologic mechanisms behind SUDEP have increased, various preventative measures have been proposed. These include lattice pillows, postictal oxygen therapy, selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors, and inhibitors of opiate and adenosine receptors. Unfortunately, no randomized clinical trials are available to definitively conclude these measures are effective. Rather, gaining the best control of seizures possible (with AEDs, devices, and resective surgery) still remains the intervention with the best evidence to reduce the risk of SUDEP. In this evidenced-based review, we explore the incidence of SUDEP and review the risk factors, biomarkers, and latest prevention strategies."