Mortality in captive baboons with seizures: A new model for SUDEP?

C. Ákos Szabó, Koyle D. Knape, M. Michelle Leland, Jake Feldman, Karin J.M. McCoy, Gene B. Hubbard, Jeff T Williams

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

40 Scopus citations


Because the baboon is a model of primary generalized epilepsy, we were interested in mortality of captive animals with a history of witnessed seizures. Causes of natural death were investigated in 46 seizure baboons (SZ) and 78 nonepileptic controls (CTL), all of which underwent a complete pathologic examination at the Southwest Foundation for Biomedical Research (SFBR) in San Antonio. SZ animals died at a younger age than the control baboons (p < 0.001). Almost all epileptic baboons that died suddenly without an apparent cause (SZ-UKN), had pulmonary congestion or edema without evidence of trauma, systemic illness, or heart disease, compared to nine controls (12%) (p < 0.001), most of which demonstrated evidence of a concurrent illness. Serosanguineous bronchial secretions were found in 15 SZ-UKN baboons (58%), but in only three controls (4%) (p < 0.001). Chronic multifocal fibrotic changes in myocardium were noted in only three (12%) of SZ-UKN baboons and one control baboon. Based upon these results, untreated seizures appear to reduce the life expectancy of captive baboons. Sudden unexpected death in epilepsy (SUDEP) may be a common cause of natural death in epileptic baboons.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1995-1998
Number of pages4
Issue number8
StatePublished - Aug 2009


  • Baboon
  • Epilepsy
  • Mortality
  • Papio

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neurology
  • Clinical Neurology


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