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Report Shows Lincoln’s Success in Cardiac Arrest Emergencies

Dr. Jason Kruger, Medical Director, Lincoln Fire and Rescue

Lincoln, NE (July 16, 2021)  Lincoln Fire and Rescue (LFR) today released its latest cardiac arrest survival statistics which show Lincoln survival rates ranking above national averages in several categories.

In 2020, LFR responded to 148 non-traumatic cardiac arrest cases (cardiac arrest caused by a medical event not due to a traumatic injury). Lincoln’s survival rate for these emergencies is 16.9% compared to the 9% national average. This means that of the 148 non-traumatic cardiac arrest cases, Lincoln affords a 7.9% higher opportunity for patients to leave the hospital to continue a normal life with little to no physical deficit.

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, bystanders performed CPR 70.9 % of the time prior to LFR arrival compared to the national CPR rate of 40.2%. This resulted in a 35% survival rate compared to a national survival rate of 29.2%.

“Lincoln Fire and Rescue has worked closely with our medical director, Lincoln hospitals, and the 911 communications center to ensure we provide the absolute best chance for survival from pre-hospital cardiac arrest,” said Fire Chief David Engler. “Attention to performance, developing solid relationships, and continual outcome-based improvement has resulted in one of the best performing EMS systems in the country.”

Engler 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 CPR (chest compressions), early defibrillation (AED), and early Advanced Cardiopulmonary Life Support (ACLS).

To ensure that LFR is accurately measuring performance to allow comparable methodology, LFR is a member of the CARES (Cardiac Arrest Registry to Enhance Survival) Registry. Each year, approximately 300,000 persons in the United States experience an out-of-hospital cardiac arrest (OHCA), with approximately 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 the city of Lincoln and responds to contracts to serve communities outside of Lincoln. Lincoln Fire and Rescue has received the Mission Lifeline Award from the American Heart Association for six consecutive years – the last four being Gold Plus Awards.


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