Autism Increases Risk of Death From Injury, Especially Drowning Interview with:
Joseph Guan

MPH Candidate in Epidemiology, Certificate in Chronic Diseases Epidemiology
Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Response: The prevalence of autism has been increasing especially in the past two decades. With an estimate of more than 3.5 million people living with autism in the US, approximately 500,000 of them are children under 15 years old. Current studies show that males are approximately four times as likely than females to be diagnosed with autism. There is also evidence that people with autism are at a heightened risk of injury. However, the research on the relationship between autism and injury is understudied.

We found that 28% of deaths in individuals with autism were due to injury, compared to 7% of deaths in the general population. Injury deaths in individuals with autism occurred at a much younger age (29.1 years) on average compared to injury deaths in the general population (54.7 years). Our study show that drowning was the leading cause of injury death among individuals with autism, followed by suffocation and asphyxiation. Children under the age of 15 years were 160 times more likely to die from drowning.

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Childhood Drowning: Very Poor Outcomes For Resuscitation Lasting More Than 30 Minutes Interview with:
Joke Kieboom, paediatric intensivist
Beatrix Children’s Hospital Medical Center Groningen
University of Groningen The Netherlands

Medical Research: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Response: The aim of the study was to evaluate the outcome of drowned children with cardiac arrest and hypothermia, and to determine distinct criteria for termination of cardiopulmonary resuscitation in drowned children with hypothermia and absence of spontaneous circulation.

From 1993 to 2012 in the Netherlands, 160 children presented with cardiac arrest and hypothermia after drowning. In 98 (61%) of these children resuscitation was performed for more than 30 minutes, of whom none had good outcome: 87 (89%) died and 11 (11%) survived for with severe disability or in a vegetative state (at one year after the drowning incident).
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