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Causes of mortality in individuals with tuberous sclerosis complex.

AIM: The causes of death in patients with tuberous sclerosis complex (TSC) have rarely been studied, with only one published account, which was reported from the Mayo Clinic in 1991. We aimed to investigate mortality in a large cohort of patients with TSC from one of two national referral clinics in the UK.

METHOD: We identified 284 patients who attended Bath TSC clinic between 1981 and 2015, and ascertained causes of death by reviewing medical records, death certificates, and postmortem reports.

RESULTS: Sixteen patients died from complications of TSC: eight from TSC kidney diseases; four from sudden unexpected death in epilepsy (SUDEP); two from lymphangioleiomyomatosis; one from a subependymal giant cell astrocytoma; and one from a pancreatic malignancy. The median age of death was 33 years (interquartile range [IQR] 26-46). Mortality was significantly more common in patients with learning disabilities than in those without (13/135 [9%] vs 3/131 [2%]; two-tailed Fisher exact test p=0.020).

INTERPRETATION: Renal disease is a major cause of mortality in TSC. Lifelong surveillance and early intervention is warranted. SUDEP is also an important cause of mortality. Patients with learning disabilities are at significantly greater risk of early mortality and this implies the need for greater vigilance for TSC-related complications in this group. Female patients are vulnerable to pulmonary and renal disease. Pancreatic lesions are a rare but potentially treatable cause of mortality.

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