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Insights Into the Mechanisms of SUDEP: Exploring Paths to Prevention

Insights Into the Mechanisms of SUDEP: Exploring Paths to Prevention



Time to Complete

1.50 hours


March 1, 2019


March 1, 2020
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Maximum Credits

1.50 / AMA PRA Category 1 Credit(s)TM

Accredited Provider

Jointly provided by Postgraduate Institute for Medicine and Miller Medical Communications, LLC.

Commercial Supporter

This activity is supported by an independent educational grant from Zogenix, Inc.

Program Description

Sudden unexpected death in epilepsy (SUDEP) is the most common cause of seizure-related death in children and adults with epilepsy. The incidence of SUDEP varies markedly by epilepsy severity, with increased rates in treatment resistant epilepsy, and in specific epilepsy syndromes, such as Dravet syndrome. Approaches to SUDEP prevention include improved seizure control, identification of seizure risk, and improved mechanism-specific interventions that are the focus of intense research. Leading theories about the mechanism of SUDEP include seizures, cardiac arrhythmias and arrest, respiratory insufficiency, central or cerebral “shutdown”, autonomic nervous system dysfunction, serotonin, genetic mutations, and combinations of these. Numerous preclinical models have been developed to identify specific mechanisms. This activity will include a review of the evidence regarding interventions demonstrated to review SUDEP risk as well as cutting-edge research exploring 3 specific mechanisms: the role of serotonin, postictal hypoxia, spreading brainstem depolarization and potential genes.

Intended Audience

This activity is intended for health care professionals engaged in the care of patients with epilepsy.

Educational Objectives

After completing this activity, participants should be better able to:

  • Identify the epidemiology, risk factors, and burden of SUDEP in children with epilepsy
  • Employ reduction of seizure frequency as a SUDEP prevention strategy
  • Review current research of mechanisms of SUDEP

Conflicts of Interest Disclosure Policy

Postgraduate Institute for Medicine (PIM) requires instructors, planners, managers and other individuals who are in a position to control the content of this activity to disclose any real or apparent conflict of interest (COI) they may have as related to the content of this activity. All identified COI are thoroughly vetted and resolved according to PIM policy. PIM is committed to providing its learners with high quality CME activities and related materials that promote improvements or quality in healthcare and not a specific proprietary business interest of a commercial interest.


Jeffrey R. Buchhalter, MD, PhD, FAAN (Program Chair)
Adjunct Professor of Pediatrics
University of Calgary
Calgary, Alberta, Canada

Dr. Buchhalter discloses the following:
Consulting Fees (eg, advisory boards): Child Neurology Foundation
SUDEP consultant

G. Campbell Teskey, PhD
Hotchkiss Brain Institute
University of Calgary
Calgary, Alberta, Canada

Dr. Teskey discloses the following:
Consulting Fees (eg, advisory boards): GW Pharmaceuticals, Second Sight Medical, and Zogenix
Contracted Research: GW Pharmaceuticals and Zogenix

Carl L. Faingold, PhD
Professor of Pharmacology and Neurology
Southern Illinois University School of Medicine
Springfield, Illinois

Dr. Faingold discloses the following:
Contracted Research: Zogenix

Jeffrey L. Noebels, MD, PhD
Professor of Neurology, Neuroscience, Molecular and Human Genetics

Blue Bird Circle Developmental Neurogenetics Laboratory
Baylor College of Medicine
Houston, Texas

Dr. Noebels has nothing to disclose.

Planners and Managers

The PIM planners and managers have nothing to disclose.

The Miller Medical Communications, LLC, planners and managers have nothing to disclose.




AMA PRA Category 1 Credit(s)TM

Accreditation Statement

In support of improving patient care, this activity has been planned and implemented by the Postgraduate Institute for Medicine and Miller Medical Communications, LLC.  Postgraduate Institute for Medicine is jointly accredited by the Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education (ACCME), the Accreditation Council for Pharmacy Education (ACPE), and the American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC), to provide continuing education for the healthcare team.

Designation Statement

The Postgraduate Institute for Medicine designates this enduring material for a maximum of 1.50 AMA PRA Category 1 Credit(s)TM .  Physicians should claim only the credit commensurate with the extent of their participation in the activity.

Disclosure of Unlabeled Use

This educational activity may contain discussion of published and/or investigational uses of agents that are not indicated by the FDA. The planners of this activity do not recommend the use of any agent outside of the labeled indications. The opinions expressed in the educational activity are those of the faculty and do not necessarily represent the views of the planners. Please refer to the official prescribing information for each product for discussion of approved indications, contraindications, and warnings.


Participants have an implied responsibility to use the newly acquired information to enhance patient outcomes and their own professional development. The information presented in this activity is not meant to serve as a guideline for patient management. Any procedures, medications, or other courses of diagnosis or treatment discussed or suggested in this activity should not be used by clinicians without evaluation of their patient's conditions and possible contraindications and/or dangers in use, review of any applicable manufacturer's product information, and comparison with recommendations of other authorities.




This activity is offered at no cost to participants. To obtain credit, please proceed with the activity until you have successfully completed this program, and evaluation, and have received a digital copy of your credit certificate. Your online certificate will be saved on myCME within your Profile/CME History, which you can access at any time.

If you have any questions relating to the accreditation of this activity, please contact Postgraduate Institute for Medicine at: or (303) 799-1930.


Hardware and Software Requirements
  • A computer with an internet connection
  • Internet Browser: Internet Explorer 7.x or higher, Firefox 4.x or higher, Safari 2.x or higher, or any other W3C standards compliant browser
  • Additional Software: Adobe Flash Player and/or an HTML 5 capable browser maybe required for video or audio playback. PowerPoint or Adobe Acrobat Reader may occasionally be required
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