A high incidence of sudden unexplained nocturnal deaths has been reported among young Asian males. These deaths are known as Pokkuri in Japan, Bangungut in the Philippines and Sudden Unexplained Nocturnal Death in the United States. Post mortem analysis has demonstrated cardiac conduction defects in many of the victims. Careful review of the terminal events surrounding these deaths suggests that the victims suffered from night terrors. Night terrors are a sleep disorder characterized by vocalization, motor activity, a nonarousable state, and severe autonomic discharge. The proposed recognition of both night terrors and cardiac anomalies in these patients offers a pathophysiologic mechanism for their sudden death.
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