Sleeping On Stomach May Increase Risk of Death in Epilepsy

James Tao, MD, Ph.D Assistant Professor Director, EEG Lab Department of Neurology, The University of Chicago, IL.MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
James Tao, MD, Ph.D
Assistant Professor Director, EEG Lab
Department of Neurology, The University of Chicago, IL.

Medical Research: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Dr. Tao: Sudden unexpected death in epilepsy (SUDEP) is the leading cause of mortality in patients with chronic uncontrolled epilepsy. Patients often died in sleep, in bed, and unwitnessed. They were often found in prone position. These circumstances of SUDEP are remarkably similar to those of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS). In our study, we found that 73% of 253 SUDEP patients were died in prone position. These findings suggest that sudden unexpected death in epilepsy may share the mechanisms similar to SIDS.

Medical Research: What should clinicians and patients take away from your report?

Dr. Tao: Stomach sleep may increase the risk of sudden unexpected death in epilepsy.

Medical Research: What recommendations do you have for future research as a result of this study?

Dr. Tao: Patients with epilepsy should avoid stomach sleep, and “Back is the Best”.

Citation:

Association of prone position with sudden unexpected death in epilepsy
Jennifer A. Liebenthal, MD, Shasha Wu, MD, PhD, Sandra Rose, MD, John S. Ebersole, MD
and James X. Tao, MD, PhD

Published online before print January 21, 2015, doi: 10.1212/WNL.0000000000001260 Neurology 10.1212/WNL.0000000000001260