Think Like a Pancreas

Saturday, 8 December 2012

Does Hypoglycaemia cause Dead-in-Bed Syndrome in Young Diabetic Patients?

Dead-in-Bed Syndrome in Young Diabetic Patients



Oddmund Sovik, MD, DRMEDSCI
Hrafnkell Thordarson, MD




The so-called dead-in-bed syndrome refers to sudden death in young diabetic patients without any history of long-term complications. Autopsy is typically negative. The present report summarizes frequency data on this condition from studies in the U.K. and the Scandinavian countries. It appears that such deaths occur in 6% of all deaths in diabetic patients below age 40 years. The frequency may also be expressed as 2–6 events per 100,000 patient-years. The causes are by definition unknown, but a plausible theory is a death in hypoglycemia, since a history of nocturnal hypoglycemia is noted in most cases. While waiting for the clarification of the underlying pathophysiology, one should attempt to identify patients who are at particular risk of hypoglycemia and advocate caution in efforts to normalize blood glucose and HbA1c in these cases.

Diabetes Care 22 (Suppl. 2):B40–B42, 1999

Wednesday, 14 November 2012

Is Dead-In-Bed Syndrome related to Cot Death?

Somebody wrote to me a month or so ago suggesting that Dead-In-Bed Syndrome is related to Cot Death.  I have had these thoughts myself as I am not convinced it was due to Type 1 Diabetes that my daughter lost her life.  I really need to get to grips with this research and see what I can come up with to try to get some answers.

Sunday, 8 July 2012

BBC1 Rip Off Britain

Unfortunately some kind soul ripped me off on a memorial for Danielle. They took my money and gave me nothing. You will see me on television soon talking about Danielle and what they did to me!

Tuesday, 19 June 2012

What is Dead In Bed Syndrome?

I am currently researching information regarding my daughter's death and the controversial Dead In Bed Syndrome.

What is Dead-In-Bed-Syndrome?

Dead In Bed Syndrome (DIB) is what was given as the cause of death for my daughter who died the day before her 13th birthday in bed. I knew deep down that this was going to come up and I was prepared to tackle it. After all, I had suffered seizures and hypoglycaemia hundreds of times and it hadn't happened to me!

'Dead In Bed Syndrome' is the name given to the death of a Type 1 Diabetic whilst sleeping. When the person's blood sugar falls below a certain level, this is called a hypo for short, or hypoglycaemia, being the medical term. When a diabetic is awake, hypos can normally give warning signs which alerts the diabetic to take glucose in some form. Whilst sleeping it is hard to detect those warning signs, especially if in a deep sleep and so this can lead to seizures (fits). Where the diagnosis of Dead In Bed Syndrome is concerned, it appears that the person has not had a seizure as the bed is normally found to be undisturbed with no signs of a struggle.

This is a very rare occurrence apparently. Why did it happen to my daughter then? Why hasn't it happened to me? Well, it has been said that the hypoglycaemia can cause a heart arrhythmia (abnormal heartbeat) and cause the heart to just stop beating. The frustrating thing for me and for all the other people who have been given this as a cause of death is that it is not certain what actually happened while their loved one was sleeping.

Typical Findings In Post-Mortem Reports

  1. The person is found dead in an undisturbed bed.
  2. The person was observed to be in good health before going to bed.
  3. It seems to happen most commonly in young people, especially those living alone.
If you look at typical findings at post-mortem, for example, when all circumstances are taken into consideration, you will find that the above three statements are very common. I would like to comment as follows:-

1. My daughter was found dead in her bed, undisturbed, just peaceful.
2. Apart from having Type 1 Diabetes, she was in good health and sporty with a slim build
3. She was young. She didn't live alone. We couldn't have saved her life on this occasion.