Objective: This study aimed to compare knowledge transfer (KT) in the emergency department (ED) management of pediatric asthma and croup by measuring trends in corticosteroid use for both conditions in EDs.
Methods: A retrospective, cross-sectional study of the National Hospital Ambulatory Medical Care Survey data between 1995 and 2009 of corticosteroid use at ED visits for asthma or croup was conducted. Odds ratios (OR) were calculated using logistic regression. Trends over time were compared using an interaction term between disease and year and were adjusted for all other covariates in the model. We included children aged 2 to 18 years with asthma who received albuterol and were triaged emergent/urgent. Children aged between 3 months to 6 years with croup were included. The main outcome measure was the administration of corticosteroids in the ED or as a prescription at the ED visit.
Results: The corticosteroid use in asthma visits increased from 44% to 67% and from 32% to 56% for croup. After adjusting for patient and hospital factors, this trend was significant both for asthma (OR, 1.07; 95% confidence interval [CI], 1.04-1.10) and croup (OR, 1.07; 95% CI, 1.03-1.12). There was no statistical difference between the 2 trends (P = 0.69). Hospital location in a metropolitan statistical area was associated with increased corticosteroid use in asthma (OR, 1.76; 95% CI, 1.10-2.82). Factors including sex, ethnicity, insurance, or region of the country were not significantly associated with corticosteroid use.
Conclusions: During a 15-year period, knowledge transfer by passive diffusion or active guideline dissemination resulted in similar trends of corticosteroid use for the management of pediatric asthma and croup.