Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders

, Volume 46, Issue 4, pp 1441–1454 | Cite as

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

  • Rini VohraEmail author
  • Suresh Madhavan
  • Usha Sambamoorthi
Original Paper


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.


Autism Emergency department Emergency room Autism trends Expenditures Adult autism Autism injury Medical conditions in autism 


Author contributions

The current study is part of a doctoral dissertation project conducted by RV on healthcare services utilization and expenditures among adults with ASD. RV conceived the study objectives, conducted the statistical analyses, and formulated the first draft of manuscript. SM contributed to refining of study objectives, study design, manuscript development and revisions. US participated in identifying appropriate statistical analyses, conducting analyses, interpretation of data and results, along with manuscript submissions and revisions.


The current study was partially funded by IDeA-CTR award from the National Institute of General Medical Sciences, U54GM104942. The content is solely the responsibility of the authors and does not necessarily represent the official views of the NIH or policy or position of West Virginia University (WVU) or any other affiliated organizations.

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Informed Consent

There was no requirement of an informed consent, since the discharge-level data is publicly available and did not involve direct participation of patients. The primary author of the study has completed a data user agreement with the HCUP-NEDS, AHRQ to obtain the de-identified dataset.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  • Rini Vohra
    • 1
    Email author
  • Suresh Madhavan
    • 1
  • Usha Sambamoorthi
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Pharmaceutical Systems and PolicyWest Virginia UniversityMorgantownUSA

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