Heart2Heart CPR Shines a Light on Sudden Unexpected Death in Epilepsy (SUDEP) by Sharing Kayla's Story

Today is Epilepsy Awareness Day

Toronto, Ontario, CANADA


TORONTO, March 26, 2021 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Heart to Heart First Aid CPR Services Inc., has been in the business of saving lives for 21 years. They instill valuable first aid and CPR knowledge and skills to their clients. They also create awareness on new and relevant topics and trends in health and safety. In recognition of Epilepsy Awareness Day, Heart to Heart, is informing the public about a rare life threatening medical condition called Sudden Unexpected Death in Epilepsy (SUDEP). If you or someone you know has epilepsy or experiences seizures, please listen to Kayla’s story. It may save the life of someone you love.

A media snippet accompanying this announcement is available by clicking the image or link below: 

On the morning of February 11th, 2019, Kayla entered her parents’ bedroom. She told them she had a bad dream. Climbing into her parents’ bed, she fell asleep with her father while her mother, Geri, got ready for work.

After Geri left for work, Kayla’s father awoke to discover his daughter having her first seizure. On April 8th and 9th, 2019, within 30 to 45 minutes after going to sleep, Kayla had her 2nd and 3rd seizure.

Kayla underwent physical examinations, laboratory work, and a sleep deprivation test. Kayla’s test results came back negative. No formal diagnosis provided. Kayla’s doctor felt it was best to prescribe a low dose anti-seizure medication and to be monitored for one year.

For the next 8 months, Kayla was seizure-free, and it seemed that the medication was working. Kayla, by all accounts, was a very happy, healthy and extremely athletic young girl. She had a passion for competitive dance and acrobatics. Life was pretty normal, that is, until that dreadful night in December. A night that would change everything forever.

On December 12, 2019, in the middle of the night while Kayla was sleeping, she had another seizure. One that she would not overcome. Sadly, Kayla passed away sometime during the night.   When her mother tried to wake Kayla up for school, the following morning, she found Kayla unresponsive and not breathing. Despite the best efforts of Geri and Guelph EMS to resuscitate Kayla, she was already passed.

When the post-mortem report came back, it confirmed the cause of death was SUDEP. Sudden Unexpected Death in Epilepsy. How could this be? Kayla had never been diagnosed with Epilepsy.

WATCH KAYLA’S FULL STORY HERE – 4 MINUTE VIDEO

Each year 1 in 1,000 adults, and 1 in 4,500 children with Epilepsy die from SUDEP. This is most likely a low estimate due to poor case identification and lack of awareness. The cause of SUDEP is unknown. It usually occurs at night or during sleep, thus making it difficult to determine exactly what happened during the last moments of life.

"A seizure can shut down the brain, including the center that controls respiration. If a person is sleeping and lying face down, death may occur," said Dr. Orrin Devinsky, director of NYU Comprehensive Epilepsy Center in Manhattan.

"Many doctors do not warn patients and their families about SUDEP. There are things that patients and their families can do to lower it,” Dr. Devinsky said. One is to be vigilant about taking medication to control seizures. Another example may include using monitoring devices to detect seizures during the night.

“About 70 percent of cases occur during sleep, and the people are often found face down in bed. Usually, they have been sleeping alone”, Dr. Devinsky said. "Seizures can also impair the arousal reflex. This causes people to move or shift positions during sleep if their air supply is blocked. In this case, if someone else is present and can roll the person over or try to rouse them, that can be lifesaving,” Dr. Devinsky said.

“It can happen to anyone with Epilepsy. Even the first seizure could be the last one. The more uncontrolled the seizures, the more severe, and the more they occur in sleep, the higher the risk,” he said.

While not as common in children, SUDEP is a preventable cause of death during childhood. A Canadian Pediatric Surveillance Program is a current study that investigates the incidence and risk factors for SUDEP in Canadian children. 

Heart 2 Heart First Aid & CPR Inc., believes research is needed to help those with Epilepsy understand how to lower their risk of SUDEP. An awareness campaign on Sudden Unexpected Death in Epilepsy (SUDEP), will take place immediately and this topic will be covered in all Heart to Heart’s courses. This includes Standard First Aid CPR, Emergency First Aid CPR, Basic Life Support, Instructor Development and Professional Responder programs. This initiative will be offered to all clients, across all 17 training locations nationwide.

“Kayla’s story and legacy has really touched us here at Heart to Heart First Aid CPR Services. We want to support the Chadwick family and get the message out. We are confident that Kayla’s story will save countless lives as we bring more awareness to this life-threatening condition,” says Nick Rondinelli, CEO of Heart to Heart First Aid CPR Services. Her life, although short, will have a significant impact to all those who learn about SUDEP for years to come.

Please support Kayla’s cause today as we mark Epilepsy Awareness Day. Even a small donation of $25, $50 can have a significant impact.

The Make your Mark Foundation was created in memory of Kayla Chadwick by her family. We hope that by sharing Kayla’s story we can both raise awareness and encourage research into Epilepsy and SUDEP. All funds raised will support research dedicated to Epilepsy and SUDEP throughout Canada.

Make your mark and donate today: https://www.canadahelps.org/en/dn/60291

By Nick Rondinelli – CEO / Owner
Heart to Heart First Aid CPR Services Inc.
Direct: 416-833-0421 – Office: 416-960-5319
nick@heart2heartcpr.comwww.heart2heartcpr.com

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CONTACT: Nick Rondinelli - CEO
COMPANY: Heart2Heart CPR
PHONE: 416-833-0421
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