SUDEP Institute flags at Walk memorial

Most people with epilepsy live a full and healthy life. However, you should be aware that people can die from epilepsy.

  • Some people with epilepsy may lose their lives from accidents, suicide, or the underlying cause of their condition, such as brain tumors or infections.
  • Another rare cause of epilepsy related death is New-onset refractory status epilepticus (NORSE), which is defined as refractory status epilepticus without an obvious cause after initial investigations.
  • Yet, the leading cause of epilepsy-related death is believed to be sudden unexpected death in epilepsy, also known as SUDEP.

This section will address the major causes of death in epilepsy. While this information may be scary to read, it's not meant to be. We are committed to helping people be aware of the seriousness of epilepsy and what they can do to prevent complications and death.

Sometimes death from epilepsy occurs suddenly and can't be prevented. In other situations, there may be some things people can do to avoid or modify situations and risks.

After reading this information, print it out and talk to your loved ones and health care team. Learn how this pertains to you (or not) and what you can do to live a full and healthy life.

Authored By: 
Patty Obsorne Shafer RN, MN
Authored Date: 
Reviewed By: 
Joseph I. Sirven MD
Patty Obsorne Shafer RN, MN
Thursday, August 31, 2017