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Diagnoses of autism spectrum disorders in Germany: Time trends in administrative prevalence and diagnostic stability.

Autism. 2018 Apr;22(3):283-290

Authors: Bachmann CJ, Gerste B, Hoffmann F

Abstract
For Germany, no data on trends in autism spectrum disorder diagnoses are available. The primary aim of this study was to establish the time trends in the administrative prevalence of autism spectrum disorder diagnoses. The second aim was to assess the stability of autism spectrum disorder diagnoses over time. We analysed administrative outpatient data (2006-2012) from a nationwide health insurance fund and calculated the prevalence of autism spectrum disorder diagnoses for each year, stratified by age and sex. Additionally, we studied a cohort with a first-time diagnosis of autism spectrum disorder in 2007 through 2012, investigating the percentage of retained autism spectrum disorder diagnoses. From 2006 to 2012, the prevalence of autism spectrum disorder diagnoses in 0- to 24-year-olds increased from 0.22% to 0.38%. In insurees with a first-time autism spectrum disorder diagnosis in 2007, this diagnosis was carried on in all years through 2012 in 33.0% (The International Classification of Diseases, Tenth Revision diagnoses: F84.0/F84.1/F84.5) and 11.2% (F84.8/F84.9), respectively. In Germany, like in other countries, there has been an increase in the administrative prevalence of autism spectrum disorder diagnoses. Yet, prevalences are still lower than in some other Western countries. The marked percentage of autism spectrum disorder diagnoses which were not retained could indicate a significant portion of autism spectrum disorder misdiagnoses, which might contribute to rising autism spectrum disorder prevalences.

PMID: 29671642 [PubMed – in process]

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