Sudden death in epilepsyBMJ 2011; 343 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.d7303 (Published 15 November 2011) Cite this as: BMJ 2011;343:d7303
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I read with interest the editorial on Sudden death in epilepsy particularly highlighting its seriousness and the importance of raising awareness of the same particularly amongst family doctors. This article resonates with the findings of our recent survey on emergency management of epilepsy in patients with intellectually disability living in care homes in a town in Buckinghamshire (Deepak et al 2012).
Epilepsy and intellectual disabilities frequently coexist (Goulden et al 1991). These patients have a higher risk of mortality (NICE 2004,2012) and management of seizures is fraught with multiple challenges sepecially in providing information and support.
Our survey highlighted a common misconception amongst privately funded care home staff who participated in our survey that patients with chronic epilepsy whose seizures appeared well controlled were at low risk for sudden death. More often than not, these patients had not been prescribed emergency anti epileptic medication by their doctors.
This lack of awareness along with the additional expense of training staff seemed to be contributing to more than half of the homes surveyed not having sufficiently trained staff for administering emergency medication for epilepsy.
It would be helpful and potentially life saving in many cases were family doctors, specialists, patients and their carers be made aware of this very real risk by the clinicians in order to promote a safe and effective treatment plan for individuals with epilepsy in the community.
Deepak S., Obe E., and Attavar R.(2012)' "Administration of emergency anti epileptics in staffed care homes for people with intellectual disabilities in High Wycombe: survey of staff training status", Advances in Mental Health and Intellectual Disabilities, Vol 6 No. 1, pp 41-46.
Goulden, K.J., Shinnar, S.,Koller, H.,Katz, M. and Richardson, S.A(1991), "Epilepsy in children with mental retardation: a cohort study", Epilepsia, Vol. 32 No. 5, pp. 690-7.
NICE(2004, 2012), The Epilepsies: The diagnosis and Management of The Epilepsies in Adults and Children in Primary and Secondary care, NICE, London.
Competing interests: No competing interests
It would be nice to read this article, as I have epilepsy, and cannot afford a subscription to BMJ. Anything I can learn about my condition is helpful to managing it, or educating others about it.
Alas, it seems that only wealthy epileptics are to know of this condition.
Competing interests: I have epilepsy