Mayor Chris Beutler today announced that Lincoln Fire and Rescue (LFR) will receive six battery-operated chest compression devices to help save lives in cases of cardiac arrest. LFR's Emergency Medical Services (EMS) staff began a trial use of the device - called the LUCAS 2™ - in August 2014, and purchased one unit in January. LFR has used the LUCAS device more than 70 times.
"It's estimated that about 150 people will suffer cardiac arrest outside of the hospital setting this year in Lincoln," Beutler said. "These patients need chest compressions to provide an immediate and steady supply of oxygen to the heart and brain. The LUCAS devices assist our EMS providers by taking over the chest compressions during CPR. During the trial phase, our first responders found the LUCAS 2 to be an important life-saving tool that will help them provide even better emergency care for our community."
LFR will receive three LUCAS 2 devices in September and three more next year, enough to equip each front-line ambulance. LFR applied for and received grant funding for the six devices from the Leona and Harry B. Helmsley Charitable Trust, which is administered by the EMS Division of the Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services.
"Performing chest compressions for an extended period of time can be difficult even for a well-trained rescuer," said. Dr. Jason Kruger, EMS Medical Director. "The LUCAS 2 is able to deliver consistent chest compressions 102 times per minute, and has a battery life of at least 45 minutes. During the testing period, our EMS supervisors have developed techniques for quickly applying the device. The LUCAS 2 devices will allow us to take our cardiac arrest response to a higher level."
An estimated 600,000 people in the U.S. experience cardiac arrest annually. For those who have cardiac arrest outside the hospital, the survival rate is less than 6 percent. Kruger said the survival rate in Lincoln so far this year is 21 percent for those who have cardiac arrest outside the hospital and receive care from LFR. In 2013, LFR became the first agency in the state to begin participating in the Cardiac Arrest Registry to Enhance Survival (CARES). Kruger said LFR uses CARES to measure improvements, and the data has led to innovations. In May, LFR received the American Heart Association's Mission: Lifeline EMS Silver award for improving treatment for patients who experience severe heart attacks.