Publication Date



Journal of the American College of Emergency Physicians Open


INTRODUCTION: There are disparities in multiple aspects of pediatric asthma care; however, prehospital care disparities are largely undescribed. This study's objective was to examine racial and geographic disparities in emergency medical services (EMS) medication administration to pediatric patients with asthma.

METHODS: This is a substudy of the Early Administration of Steroids in the Ambulance Setting: An Observational Design Trial, which includes data from pediatric asthma patients ages 2-18 years. We examined rates of EMS administration of systemic corticosteroids and inhaled bronchodilators by patient race. We geocoded EMS scene addresses, characterized the locations' neighborhood-based conditions and resources relevant to children using the Child Opportunity Index (COI) 2.0, and analyzed associations between EMS scene address COI with medications administered by EMS.

RESULTS: A total of 765 patients had available racial data and 825 had scene addresses that were geocoded to a COI. EMS administered at least 1 bronchodilator to 84.7% (

CONCLUSIONS: There were no racial differences in EMS administration of medications to pediatric asthma patients. However, there were significantly higher rates of EMS bronchodilator administration for encounters in low/very low COIs. That latter finding may reflect inequities in asthma exacerbation severity for patients living in disadvantaged areas.


asthma, Child Opportunity Index, emergency medical services, health disparities, pediatric



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