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Epilepsy Mortality in Ireland

Principal Investigator:

Dr Yvonne Langan, St James’s Hospital & Trinity College Dublin

Project Partners:

Health Research Board


Up to €25,000, part supporting the project for 2020 -2021

About the Project:

Individuals with epilepsy have a higher death rate when compared with those in the general population of similar age. These deaths may be related to the underlying condition which caused the epilepsy but also may be due to the very fact of having epilepsy itself.

Seizure related deaths include accidents and drowning but also sudden unexpected deaths (SUDEP) the cause of which is as yet unknown. This study will look at all deaths in those with epilepsy in Ireland in 2019. It is likely that most seizure related deaths will have been reported to the coroner and undergone post-mortem examination.

The Health Research Board (HRB) has an established mechanism in place for accessing data held by the coroners in Ireland. With their help, the researchers will identify deaths in those with epilepsy referred to the coroner in Ireland and extract background information from any available records.

Deaths will be classified into epilepsy related and non-epilepsy related deaths with particular emphasis on identifying cases of SUDEP. The study will estimate how frequently these deaths occur and compare the Irish figures to those from other populations.

While there have been a number of incidence studies in other jurisdictions, this study will be the first countrywide examination of SUDEP incidence in the Republic of Ireland.

We hope that the study will increase awareness of SUDEP & other epilepsy-related deaths and emphasise the need for people with epilepsy to have equitable access to expert neurology care and the full range of available treatments.