Hunter Tylo is a tv actress and her 19 year old son Michael had epilepsy. He walked into his backyard Thursday to use his cellphone and apparently had a seizure and fell into his pool and drowned. I'm not sure I can link an article, but I just wanted to pass along this tragic news.
That is really sad.
I haven't read up much on the Sudden Unexplained Deaths with epileptic patients.....or why they think it happens. Guess I didn't want to know the odds or reasons. It is a bonafide syndrome that results in death with seizure patients...
can't find my notes... search for SUDEP. Sudden Death from Epilepsy if I recall properly. It technically is a medical condition. Usually occurs during sleep, the person tyically sufficates during or after a seizure, in most cases occuring during sleep. Usually they are found in the morning. In the past it was marked down as "unknown" or "suffocation" for cause. SUDEP is a VERY RARE but valid cause of death in sevear epilepsy cases.
It's tagged as SUDEP when the ME can't find obvious cause of death.
In a county in the US where there are approx. 3000 deaths a year SUDEP accounted for 0.35/yr of the deaths. In the upper midwest zone (not clearly defined) it was 1.0; in Stockholm Sweden 1.3; in Saskatchewan Canada 0.5-1.4/yr.
(numbers from Dr Payne, Epileptologist, presentation in 2006)
Contributary risk factors TC's, MR, poly therapy (2 or more) lack of well developed treatment plan.
It increases in occurance with Chronic, and Severe medicaly refractory epileptics.
That makes sense- it's sort of like SIDS for epileptics- a diagnosis of exclusion when no other definitive cause of death can be found. I wish I had my seizure info so organized- I know I've got the stuff somewhere, but where that 'where' is can be a mystery !!
I know one of the recomendations for "high risk" patients was to sew tennis balls on to a sleeping garment on the sides towards and front. Making it uncomfortable to sleep on the belly. This would make the suffocation that often occurs in SUDEP cases less likely.
Another was to pay attention to the pillow and bedding content, so they would still breath if the person was face down on them, preventing suffocation.
Simple measures like this can be used if it is a high risk patient and the parents, or dr's are that concerned.
The best is to continue to be active in the therapy.
Some of the deaths can also be caused by falling,
I had a seizure about 4 years ago,I was outside on
my asphalt driveway when I had the seizure and
obviously fell down face first,my forehead was split
open so bad and I could have bled to death.No one
was home and when I come too and called my Dad
he came and got me,my dad said that the amount of
blood on my driveway was almost as bad as when he
had been hunting and gutted a deer.My whole family
said,I was lucky to be alive.Sooooo sad,I still have the
scar and it's a bad one.
For the patients that are known to have "drop seizures" they are now more than in the past highly recomending wearing the "athletic" helmets. Consisting of soft foam, like those used in martial arts, often times with a chin strap, and even covering the top of the head. They have vent holes so you don't over heat. However in cases of falling it prevents inury to the head.
I'm glad you are OK after an injury like that Sherri.
My understanding of SUDEP is that it's from an unknown cause; even though Hunter Tylo's son had a seizure, it was drowning that killed him- had he been away from the pool, he probably would have survived- not to "blame" him, but it doesn't sound like my understanding of SUDEP ( Travis had a good description). It's a Sudden Unexplained Death- with a fall, the head trauma would be the cause, not epilepsy, even though someone fell having a seizure. They could see the trauma to the head, and know what caused the death (this is a bit gruesome, but a reality we all live with).
I can't imagine getting any sleep with tennis balls in my pj's.... but it sure would keep me from getting comfy and deeply asleep. I would hope that someone that high risk would have an apnea alarm to alert someone, or adjust the volume to wake them up, so they could call for help.
I've heard about so many people (books, spots on news shows, etc) who resent the helmets for drop attacks....I can understand not wanting to wear one, but the risk to the head is so great with falls of any sort. (can't count the number of concussions or bruises from falls to my head- good thing it's hard as a rock !!). But now they have sort of custom snazzy ones, that aren't just plain old helmets, but almost works of art.
Thanks Travis,my family and I are definitely glad also.
Yeah,I know about the helmets and should where one,
it just brings so much attention to me and that then
everyone knows something is wrong with me.Like Neuro
put it,I too am glad that we have heads as hard as rocks.
Yes,it is actually the fall and not the seizure that would
kill you,I never really looked at it like that before,but,very
Last edited by Sherri5186; 10-28-2007 at 12:13 PM.