PURPOSE: The purpose of this study is to investigate possible correlation between certain airway anamolies and a definitive diagnosis of autism and/or autistic spectrum disorder.
METHODS: IRB approval was obtained for a restrospective study to evaluate 49 patients with a diagnosis of autism or autistic spectrum disorder. These patients were seen in the pulmonary clinic with a diagnosis of cough that was unresponsive to therapy and who required further pulmonary work-up.Bronchoscopic evaluation of the airway was included as part of that work-up.
RESULTS: Bronchoscopic evaluations revealed the presence of initial normal anatomy followed by double take-offs in the lower airway (or "doublets")in 100% of the autistic population studied.
CONCLUSIONS: There appears to be a correlation between autistic spectrum disorder and airway anatomy. This is a small study of 49 patients. More investigation is warranted.
CLINICAL IMPLICATIONS: At present autism is diagnosed through subjective observation of "autistic behaviors." Autistic children with cough may be diagnosed objectively.
DISCLOSURE: The following authors have nothing to disclose: Barbara Stewart, Barbara Stewart
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