A patient with a Chiari I malformation may experience sudden death. Several conditions may serve as a triggering event. If a patient with Chiari Type I malformation experiences sudden death, it is important to look for a triggering cause or an alternative explanation.

Risk factors for sudden death in a patient with Chiari Type I malformation:

(1) head trauma (even seemingly mild)

(2) drugs causing respiratory depression (opioids, etc)

(3) sleep apnea and sleep disordered breathing

(4) increase in intracranial pressure

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