Five Things You Should Know About Advanced Cardiac Life Support (ACLS)
Posted On: 6/30/2010
Advanced cardiac life support, or ACLS, is a strategic, organized set of clinical interventions to provide urgent treatment to victims of sudden cardiac arrest. As with basic life support (BLS), it can be performed in a pre-hospital setting. However, ACLS requires far more knowledge and hands-on training than BLS in order to master the skills and perform them effectively and purposefully.
Knowing the basics of ACLS, whether you’re required to be certified or not, can help you understand how it plays a significant role in life-threatening emergencies.
Dr. Michael Huckabee, PhD, PA-C, Director of the Physician Assistant Program and professor of Physician Assistant Studies at Union College in Lincoln, Nebraska, offers the following information on ACLS basics:
- ACLS is practical and effective. ACLS protocols are designed to treat adults suffering compromised circulation which may result in a lack of oxygen delivered to the body. Different courses and certifications also exist for similar types of rescue measures for pediatric and neonatal victims.
- The team approach of ACLS is the key to success. A successful ACLS rescue is driven by all members of an emergency response team working together, knowing their roles and effectively communicating. Although one person can initiate ACLS, it is more effectively performed as a team. In an emergency cardiac situation, time is critical and every moment counts. More hands involved mean the patient benefits.
- The foundations of ACLS are research-based. ACLS protocols are based on extensive research and the science on which the protocols are based are continually reviewed. New protocols are published every five years to ensure that rigorously applied healthcare standards are met.
- ACLS is about quick responses that save lives. ACLS incorporates straightforward protocols and details the steps needed to take lifesaving measures. These protocols lead to quick responses and actions that assist in resuscitating a patient who, without treatment, may not have survived.
- Any healthcare professional can learn ACLS. ACLS is a means of treatment that require someone with a background in healthcare, knowledge of emergency medications, and training in basic life saving skills (or BLS). It is a course that is taught at a level understood by a variety of healthcare providers, including physicians, nurses, PAs and many first responders.
Depending on your job or profession, certification in ACLS – or another life saving support program – may be required. Contact your company’s human resources department to determine which certifications, if any, are necessary.
Health Education Solutions offers online resources for advanced cardiac life support (ACLS). This course prepares participants on the best way to approach and manage an emergency situation. Our online ACLS certification
course was designed for healthcare professionals who seek certification or recertification.
The information included in this article is based on the 2005 guidelines for CPR, first aid and advanced cardiovascular care. Read more about how the 2010 guidelines impact ACLS training online.
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