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Congenital heart anomalies and non-white ethnicity are among the factors associated with poor survival rates in people with Down syndrome
  1. Pauline Heslop
  1. Norah Fry Centre for Disability Studies, University of Bristol School for Policy Studies, Bristol, UK
  1. Correspondence to Professor Pauline Heslop, University of Bristol School for Policy Studies, Bristol BS8 1TZ, UK; pauline.heslop{at}

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Commentary on: O’Leary L, Hughes-McCormack L, Dunn K, et al. Early death and causes of death of people with Down syndrome: A systematic review. J Appl Res Intellect Disabil. 2018. doi: 10.1111/jar.12446.

Implications for practice and research

  • How we report the causes of death is important for understanding patterns of mortality. We need to ensure that all causes of death are reported in a consistent way for people with intellectual disabilities, including those with Down syndrome.

  • We currently lack sufficient evidence about why people with Down syndrome and black ethnicity appear to die at a particularly early age. More research is required into this.


People with Down syndrome are at higher risk than others for a range of respiratory, immunological, endocrine and gastrointestinal conditions.1 There is now a growing body of evidence about the impact of these conditions …

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  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Patient consent Not required.

  • Provenance and peer review Commissioned; internally peer reviewed.