AB346         A BREAKTHROUGH IN THE CAUSE OF SUDDEN UNEXPLAINED DEATH SYNDROME: EATING EXCESSIVELY BEFORE SLEEP

Author(s): 
Yen CH, Du CL, Chen CJ, Chou MC, Lee MC
TAICHUNG, TAIWAN
Text: 
Background:
Sudden unexplained death syndrome (SUDS) among young workers in Taiwan from South-east Asian countries has been given much attention recently. The pathogenesis is still unknown, calling for further investigation to allow a prevention strategy in the future.
Aim: To determine the epidemiology and possible cause of SUDS in Taiwan, based on lifestyles and forensic examinations.
Methods: A total 32 cases, with 57 controls, were collected in Taiwan from July 1996 to June 1999 through the Foreign Labor Death Promulgation System. Information on the demography, job status, period of residence in Taiwan, lifestyles, and family history of SUDS were collected for both the cases and the controls. In addition, the cases also received forensic and toxicological examinations.
Results: Most (71.9%) of the deceased were Thai labourers. All the deceased were males, with an average age of 33.3 ± 6.7 years. Most (87.5%) of the SUDS incidents occurred during sleep. Post-mortem forensic and toxicological examinations identified nothing peculiar to the deaths. Compared to the controls by bivariate analysis, regular drinking and taking large quantity of food before sleep were associated with SUDS, while the latter was the only significant risk factor for SUDS by multiple logistic regression analysis (adjusted odds ratio = 8.80; 95% confidence interval = 2.26-34.97).
Conclusions:
Taking a large quantity of food before sleep is a significant risk factor for the occurrence of SUDS; such information could be applied for a prevention strategy. However, the mechanism of taking much food before sleep to cause SUDS needs further investigation.