Lincoln’s Cardiac Survival Rates Improve in 2021

LINCOLN–(News Release May 19)–Lincoln’s survival rates for those in cardiac arrest improved in 2021 compared to 2020 and continue to rank above national averages in several categories. That’s according to the statistics released today by Mayor Leirion Gaylor Baird and Lincoln Fire and Rescue (LFR).

In both 2020 and 2021, LFR responded to 148 non-traumatic cardiac arrest cases – those caused by a medical event not due to a traumatic injury. Lincoln’s survival rate for these emergencies increased from 16.9% in 2020 to 20.3% percent in 2021. The national average is 9.1%. This means that of the 148 non-traumatic cardiac arrest cases in 2021, 30 people were saved, and Lincoln affords an 11.2% higher opportunity for patients to leave the hospital to continue a normal life with little to no physical deficit.

“We are releasing this data during National EMS Week, and these statistics demonstrate the life-saving work of our community’s emergency medical services team,” said Mayor Gaylor Baird. “These survival statistics are the result of a team effort that includes our City’s 911 Communications Center, our Paramedics and Emergency Medical Technicians (EMTs), the LFR Medical Director, and Lincoln’s outstanding hospitals. Our residents and our visitors are well served by their dedication and professionalism.”

The report also shows that when a person experiences cardiac arrest in Lincoln, civilian bystanders are more likely to perform CPR until LFR arrives. Of the 148 non-traumatic cases in 2021, bystanders performed CPR prior to LFR arrival 67.2% of the time compared to the national CPR rate of 40.2%.

Lincoln Fire Chief Dave Engler said LFR is committed to continuous improvement. He said the best outcome for a patient in cardiac arrest includes four aspects combining for the best result:

  • early detection of a person in cardiac arrest and activation of EMS
  • early chest compressions
  • early defibrillation
  • and LFR’s early Advanced Cardiopulmonary Life Support

To ensure that LFR accurately measures performance to allow comparable methodology, LFR is a member of the CARES (Cardiac Arrest Registry to Enhance Survival) Registry. Each year, about 300,000 persons in the U.S. experience an out-of-hospital cardiac arrest, with about 92% of those medical events having fatal outcomes.

Lincoln Fire and Rescue is a combined fire and emergency services department. LFR responds to all 911 calls in Lincoln LFR responds to all 911 calls in Lincoln and in nearby communities that contract with LFR. Lincoln Fire and Rescue has received the Mission Lifeline Award from the American Heart Association for seven consecutive years – the last five being Gold Plus Awards.

More information on LFR is available at