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.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Clinical Neurology