Black Children With Asthma More Likely to Receive Bronchodilators From EMS

Despite potentially more severe asthma, Black children less likely to receive hospital transport

Black children receiving emergency medical services (EMS) care are more likely to receive a bronchodilator than White children, according to a study published online Sept. 25 in Prehospital Emergency Care.

Sylvia Owusu-Ansah, M.D., from the University of Pittsburgh, and colleagues characterized differences in prehospital treatment and transport of children with suspected asthma exacerbations by race and ethnicity. The analysis included 5,266 EMS encounters among children (aged 2 to 17 years) with asthma and wheezing identified using a national prehospital database (2019).

The researchers found that in adjusted analyses, Black non-Hispanic children were less likely to be transported compared with White non-Hispanic children (adjusted odds ratio, 0.75). At least one bronchodilator was administered by EMS to 81 percent of Black non-Hispanic patients, 73 percent of Hispanic patients, and 68 percent of White non-Hispanic patients. EMS bronchodilator administration was greater for Black non-Hispanic children (adjusted odds ratio, 1.55) than White non-Hispanic children after controlling for socioeconomic status and potential confounding variables. There were no differences seen in odds of prehospital systemic corticosteroid administration by race and ethnicity.

“These findings may reflect disease severity not manifested by abnormal vital signs, management, and other social factors that warrant further investigation,” the authors write.

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