Mortality in Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders


Objective: Mortality in FASD has not been well studied. In this paper we review published reports of mortality in FASD. Method: We searched using Pub Med for all years in all languages for reports of all-cause mortality associated with any FASD. Results: We located 26 papers reporting on 57 deaths. Cause of death was reported for 49/57 cases (86%). The two most prevalent potential causes of death were malformations of the heart (37 of 49 cases, 75.5%) which varied from atrial septal defect or patent ductus arteriosus to tetralogy of Fallot, hypoplastic left heart, aortic arch interruption, etc. and brain malformations(25 of 49, 51%) including microcephaly, hydrocephalus, porencephaly, agenesis/absence of the corpus callosum and semilobar holoprosencephaly. In several cases potential causal findings overlapped. The three most frequent other causes of death were sepsis (7 cases, 14.3%), kidney malformations (7 cases, 14.3%), and cancer (4 cases, 8.2%). Over half the deaths (30/55, 54.5%) occurred in the first year of life. Discussion: We found that congenital heart disease was the most common cause of death in people with FASD. This may be due to an ascertainment bias since many of the published studies were focused on congenital heart disease in FASD. We conclude that FASD is frequently undetected in mortality events and could be a common finding in infant, child, adolescent and adult mortality.

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Thompson, A. , Hackman, D. and Burd, L. (2014) Mortality in Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders. Open Journal of Pediatrics, 4, 21-33. doi: 10.4236/ojped.2014.41003.

Conflicts of Interest

The authors declare no conflicts of interest.


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