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key takeaways

  • Every 10 years, the American Heart Association publishes goals to improve cardiac arrest survival in the United States.
  • The 2030 edition focuses on key areas such as bystander CPR, early defibrillation, survival rates, equity, and data reporting.
  • Addressing the lack of cardiac arrest data involves improving data collection as well as increasing data reporting.

The American Heart Association (AHA)’s 2030 Cardiac Arrest Impact Goals are here! Every 10 years, the AHA Emergency Cardiovascular Care (ECC) Committee creates goals to improve cardiac arrest survival. Published in January 2024, the AHA’s most recent analysis offers a reflection on how COVID-19 affected cardiac arrest care in the United States, as well as guidance on what areas to prioritize going forward.

Keep reading for a summary of the 2030 goals, plus our thoughts on the biggest takeaways.

2030 cardiac arrest impact goals

The AHA included a number of objectives for 2030, ranging from concrete targets to goals they describe as aspirational. Below, we summarized the five most important areas of focus identified by the AHA.

1. Bystander cardiopulmonary resuscitation (cpr)


Why it matters: Bystander CPR can double or even triple the likelihood of survival in out-of-hospital cardiac arrest (OHCA),1 but bystanders are often hesitant to act.

By 2030: Increase the bystander CPR rate to >50% (versus the 2020 Cardiac Arrest Registry to Enhance Survival [CARES] goal of 40.2%).1

2. early defibrillation in ohca


Why it matters: For those with shockable rhythms, the likelihood of survival decreases with every minute defibrillation is delayed.1 And since it can take Emergency Medical Services (EMS) over 6 minutes to arrive at the scene, early application of an automated external defibrillator (AED) is essential.

By 2030: Increase the percentage of OHCA victims who have an AED applied before paramedics arrive to 20% (versus the 2020 CARES goal of 9%).1

3. cardiac arrest survival


Why it matters: Despite the AHA’s previous goal to nearly double survival rates by 2020, cardiac arrest is still the leading cause of morbidity and death in the United States.1

By 2030:

  • For adult in-hospital cardiac arrest (IHCA), the new 2030 goal takes into account the significant impact of COVID-19 on survival rates.1 In 2020, the rate of survival to discharge with good neurologic outcome dropped to just 16% from approximately 24% pre-pandemic.1 As a result, the goal for 2030 is to return survival rates to pre-pandemic levels (i.e., targeting a survival rate >24%), and then re-evaluate once the rate recovers.
  • The 2030 goals also include increasing the survival rate to >45% for pediatric IHCA (previously 34-42% from 2015-2019), as well as modest increases in survival rates for adult and pediatric OHCA (both at home and in public).

4. equity


Why it matters: In the goal areas listed above, disparities have been noted for race, ethnicity, sex, and in communities with lower socioeconomic status. For example, studies show that women are less likely to receive bystander CPR, and AEDs are less available and used less often in low-income neighborhoods.1

2030 Goal: For underrepresented groups and communities of lower socioeconomic status, rates of bystander CPR, early defibrillation, and survival to discharge should be at least equal to that of the general population.

5. measurement & tracking


Why it matters: As the AHA notes, “major advances in cardiac arrest research are often driven by data.”1 But without mandated or incentivized reporting, the data we have is incomplete and not nationally representative.

For 2030: The AHA lists a number of possible solutions that would increase enrollment in data registries. These include making cardiac arrest a reportable disease, or incentivizing hospitals to report cardiac arrest data by linking it to reimbursements or health system certifications.

Key takeaway: It all comes back to data

From bystander CPR to survival rates, the AHA’s most recent goal-setting exercise honed in on several key aspects of cardiac arrest care that desperately need improvement. But it was the increased emphasis on data reporting and registries that really captured our attention, and here’s why.

While the AHA included measurement and tracking as a priority area in its own right, it was also a theme that kept reappearing throughout the analysis. Case in point: In nearly all the other priority areas identified, more accurate and comprehensive data was listed as a key part of the solution. Examples include1:

  • Developing “robust, sustainable, and functional AED registries” to analyze and optimize AED placement and access
  • Establishing infrastructure to facilitate a data-driven review after every cardiac arrest event
  • Capturing more granular data to better understand the disparities in outcomes for underrepresented groups

As the AHA noted in the article: “An important challenge in achieving the AHA ECC 2030 Impact Goals is that nationally representative data are either incomplete or not publicly available at the national, state, and local levels.”1 In other words: Until we solve the data problem, our progress toward all other AHA impact goals will be limited.

What we would add to the AHA’s analysis

Much of the AHA’s discussion of cardiac arrest data focused on low enrollment in national data registries. And rightfully so — it’s a crucial point. The existing registries in the United States are voluntary and lack appropriate funding, which limits participation and therefore the usefulness of the data collected.

But no conversation about data reporting is complete without addressing the equally important topic of data collection. Even if the AHA is successful in its loftier goal to increase enrollment in data registries by mandate or incentivization, the questions remain: What tools are hospitals and EMS using to collect that data, and how accurate and comprehensive is the data — really? Most hospitals in the United States still use paper-based methods to capture critical information during cardiac arrest events, despite studies showing that electronic methods are far superior when it comes to accuracy and overall data capture.2,3 As a result, omissions, illegible handwriting, and errors during manual data transmission are common, even though technologies that solve these problems are available.

Simply put: Increased participation in data registries is crucial, but it’s only one piece of the puzzle. A comprehensive solution to address the lack of adequate cardiac arrest data requires a two-pronged approach that emphasizes data collection and reporting equally.


Nuvara® is part of the solution

Nuvara’s CoDirector® Resuscitation Software offers real-time, electronic Code Blue documentation that makes data collection, analysis, and reporting seamless.


  1. Merchant RM, Becker LB, Brooks SC, et al. (2024). The American Heart Association Emergency Cardiovascular Care 2030 impact goals and call to action to improve cardiac arrest outcomes: A scientific statement from the American Heart Association. Circulation, 149.
  2. Grigg E, Palmer A, Grigg J, et al. (2013, July 29). Randomised trial comparing the recording ability of a novel, electronic documentation system with the AHA paper cardiac arrest record. Emergency Medicine Journal, 1–7.
  3. Peace JM, Yuen TC, Borak MH, et al. (2014, Feb.) Tablet-based cardiac arrest documentation: a pilot study. Resuscitation, 85(2): 266-269.
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