Some Minorities Less Likely to Call EMS for Stroke

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Hispanic and Asian individuals and African American women have lower usage of EMS transport for stroke.
Hispanic and Asian individuals and African American women have lower usage of EMS transport for stroke.

(HealthDay News) -- Use of emergency medical service (EMS) transport varies by race and sex among U.S. stroke patients, according to a study published online in the Journal of the American Heart Association.

Heidi Mochari-Greenberger, Ph.D., from the Columbia University Medical Center in New York City, and colleagues analyzed data from 398,798 stroke patients (50% female; 69% white) admitted to 1,613 Get With The Guidelines-Stroke participating hospitals (October 2011 to March 2014) to determine whether EMS use varied by race/ethnicity.

The researchers found that, overall, 59% of stroke patients were transported to the hospital by EMS. EMS use was highest among white women (62%), while Hispanic men were least likely to use EMS (52%). Hispanic and Asian men and women had 20 to 29% lower adjusted odds of using EMS versus their white counterparts, while black women were less likely than white women to use EMS (odds ratio, 0.75), after adjusting for other patient characteristics. 

EMS use was more likely among patients with weakness or paresis, altered level of consciousness, and/or aphasia, compared to patients without each symptom. Even after adjusting for stroke symptoms, the observed racial/ethnic and sex differences in EMS use remained significant.

"These contemporary data document suboptimal use of EMS transport among U.S. stroke patients, especially by racial/ethnic minorities and those with less recognized stroke symptoms," the authors write.

Several authors disclosed financial ties to the medical device and pharmaceutical industries.


  1. Mochari‐Greenberger, H; Xian, Y; Hellkamp, AS; et al. J Am Heart Assoc. 2015; 4: e002099, originally published August 12, 2015; doi: 10.1161/JAHA.115.002099.
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