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Sudden death in epilepsy recorded in ambulatory EEG
  1. B N McLean1,
  2. S Wimalaratna2
  1. 1
    Royal Cornwall Hospital, Truro, Cornwall, UK
  2. 2
    John Radcliffe Hospital, Oxford, UK
  1. Dr S Wimalaratna, Great Western Hospital, Marlborough Rd, Swindon SN4 0DR, UK; sunil.wimalaratna{at}


A woman with epilepsy died during a seizure and the event was recorded on ambulatory EEG. The circumstances were typical of sudden death in epilepsy (SUDEP). The EEG revealed that the patient had suffered a generalised seizure that abruptly ended with cessation of all cerebral electrical activity. Two other cases recorded on videotelemetry demonstrating similar EEG features were reported in the literature. We postulate that abrupt irreversible cerebral electrical shutdown during a seizure may be the primary mechanism of SUDEP.

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  • Competing interests: None.

  • Abbreviations:
    cerebral electrical shutdown
    sudden death in epilepsy