BACKGROUND: Management of pediatric emergencies is challenging for ambulatory providers because these rare events require preparation and planning tailored to the expected emergencies. The current recommendations for pediatric emergencies in ambulatory settings are based on 20-year-old survey data. We aimed to objectively identify the frequency and etiology of pediatric emergencies in ambulatory practices. METHODS: We examined pediatric emergency medical services (EMS) runs originating from ambulatory practices in the greater Indianapolis metropolitan area between January 1, 2012, and December 31, 2014. Probabilistic matching of pickup location addresses and practice location data from the Indiana Professional Licensing Agency were used to identify EMS runs from ambulatory settings. A manual review of EMS records was conducted to validate the matching, categorize illnesses types, and categorize interventions performed by EMS. Demographic data related to both patients who required treatment and practices where these events occurred were also described. RESULTS: Of the 38841 pediatric EMS transports that occurred during the 3-year period, 332 (0.85%) originated from ambulatory practices at a rate of 42 per 100000 children per year. The most common illness types were respiratory distress, psychiatric and/or behavioral emergencies, and seizures. Supplemental oxygen and albuterol were the most common intervention, with few critical care level interventions. Community measures of low socioeconomic status were associated with increased number of pediatric emergencies in ambulatory settings. CONCLUSIONS: Pediatric emergencies in ambulatory settings are most likely due to respiratory distress, psychiatric and/or behavioral emergencies, or seizures. They usually require only basic interventions. EMS data are a valuable tool for identifying emergencies in ambulatory settings when validated with external data.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health