Emergency Department Use Among Adults with Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD)

J Autism Dev Disord. 2016 Apr;46(4):1441-54. doi: 10.1007/s10803-015-2692-2.


A cross-sectional analyses using Nationwide Emergency Department Sample (2006-2011) was conducted to examine the trends, type of ED visits, and mean total ED charges for adults aged 22-64 years with and without ASD (matched 1:3). Around 0.4% ED visits (n = 25,527) were associated with any ASD and rates of such visits more than doubled from 2006 to 2011 (2549-6087 per 100,000 admissions). Adults with ASD visited ED for: primary psychiatric disorder (15%ASD vs. 4.2%noASD), primary non-psychiatric disorder (16%ASD vs. 14%noASD), and any injury (24%ASD vs. 28%noASD). Mean total ED charges for adults with ASD were 2.3 times higher than for adults without ASD. Findings emphasize the need to examine the extent of frequent ED use in this population.

Keywords: Adult autism; Autism; Autism injury; Autism trends; Emergency department; Emergency room; Expenditures; Medical conditions in autism.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Autism Spectrum Disorder*
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Emergency Service, Hospital / statistics & numerical data*
  • Female
  • Hospitalization
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Young Adult