Volume 33, Issue 4 (July 1988)
The Spectrum of Neuropathologic Findings in Deaths Associated with Seizure Disorders
The pathologic and neuropathologic findings in 90 autopsied cases of death associated with a seizure disorder or complication thereof were reviewed. Most (69%) of the deceased individuals were between 21 and 40 years of age; two thirds were male. In 58% of patients, no cause of death other than seizure disorder was found. The ultimate cause of death in those patients was assumed to be a cardiac arrhythmia or respiratory arrest. Drowning accounted for 19% of deaths, and 17% of patients died of other contributory causes such as suicide, exposure, or atherosclerotic coronary vascular disease. Aspiration was found in the remaining 6%. Tongue lacerations or bite marks were observed in only one third of cases. The brain was normal in approximately two thirds of cases, with no focus for the origination of seizure found on neuropathologic examination. In the remainder of cases, a variety of lesions was found, with cavitary lesions, contusions, and dural lesions being the most common ones.