ACLS Questions and Answers: The Impact of the New Life Support Guidelines

Posted On: 2/8/2011

Every five years, the American Heart Association (AHA) releases new guidelines for first aid and life support courses. The most recent recommendations were released in 2010. With a new set of ACLS questions and answers, the 2011, 2012, 2013 and 2014 exams will have some distinct differences from those exams based on the 2005 AHA guidelines.

What new ACLS questions and answers should I expect to see on the updated certification exam?
Health Education Solutions has released a new ACLS certification practice test and a free practice quiz, both of which will provide you with sample ACLS questions and answers before you take the actual exam. Here is a sampling of the types of questions you might see:

  • Question 1: You witness an elderly woman collapse at a shopping mall. The woman is unresponsive and without a pulse. What is your next step?
    • Ask if anyone knows how to give CPR.
    • Request an automatic electronic defibrillator unit.
    • Ask for someone to call 911.
    • Initiate IV or IO access.

  • Question 2: What is the correct order for the initial assessment of a person suffering a cardiac arrest?
    • Airway – Breathing – Circulation/Compressions.
    • Breathing – Circulation/Compressions – Airway.
    • Airway – Circulation/Compressions – Breathing.
    • Circulation/Compressions – Airway – Breathing.

  • Question 3: When a patient is seen with paroxysmal supraventricular tachycardia (SVT), which of the following interventions is indicated for the initial treatment, if the patient is hemodynamically stable?
    • Digoxin 0.25 mg IV push.
    • Verapamil 80 mg IV push.
    • Synchronized cardioversion using 100 J.
    • Carotid sinus massage.

  • Question 4: Which of the following is the most important factor in surviving an out-of-hospital cardiac arrest?
    • Immediate airway control with intubation.
    • Rapid transport to appropriate facility.
    • Early defibrillation.
    • Aggressive management of hypotension.

  • Question 5: Which of the following is a contraindication to the use of tPA in the management of a patient with acute stroke syndrome?
    • Age of 75 years.
    • Blood pressure of 190/120 mm Hg.
    • Diagnosis of an ischemic stroke with neurologic deficits.
    • Time of onset of symptoms 2 hours prior.

Do I have to take an ACLS test again?
Michael Huckabee, PhD, PA-C, director of the Union College Physician Assistant program and curriculum developer for Health Education Solutions, offers an explanation.

Individuals with certification under the 2005 guidelines won’t be required to recertify until their two-year ACLS certification expires. Course completion cards continue to be recognized as valid for two years, regardless of science changes. If you were certified under the 2005 guidelines, you should continue to perform ACLS tactics according to the 2005 standards until you’re trained under the 2010 guidelines.

Are the new ACLS test questions and answers, 2011 course materials more accurate?
Earlier guidelines and ACLS test questions were not ineffective; the new ACLS course is just more up-to-date. As Huckabee explained, these new guidelines represent today’s state-of-the-art resuscitation science.

The routine protocols of ACLS have undergone the greatest scrutiny in the review process, and the evidence-based approach to the new guidelines is refreshing and relevant. While the previous standards remain acceptable, it’s reasonable to conclude that the new guidelines stress a more informed quality of care in typically life-threatening situations. The sooner healthcare professionals have all been trained in these standards, the more likely the medical team can efficiently respond to emergencies with effective treatment. 

When will instructors begin to teach the new guidelines?
Health Education Solutions’ ACLS online courses currently reflect the new recommendations; the courses will remain effective throughout 2012, 2013 and 2014.

Where can I learn more?
Health Education Solutions has released ACLS practice tests to help healthcare providers and first responders prepare for the ACLS exam. ACLS certification and recertification free practice quizzes each offer five-question sample tests. A full certification practice test and recertification practice exam, both complete with 50 timed multiple-choice ACLS sample questions, are available for $35. A portion of this fee can be applied to the purchase price of the full certification course.

Sign up for a course today:

Health Education Solutions offers online ACLS and PALS certification courses, as well as a variety of other life support and first aid courses. ACLS and PALS courses, designed in cooperation with Union College, began reflecting the new science guidelines in the first quarter of 2011.




Topics:  ACLS  |  First Aid  |