Advanced Cardiac Life Support
Advanced Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation
Advanced CPR are courses that are tailored especially for people who work in health care. There are a variety of advanced courses offered throughout the country, primarily focused on two CPR guidelines – Advanced Cardiac Life Support and Pediatric Advanced Life Support. ACLS and PALS are structured the same way and use Basic Life Support guidelines as basis. However, their main different lies in the target patient age range.
Advanced Cardiac Life Support training is for the management of adult patients – meaning patients 18 years old and above. Pediatric Advanced Life Support training on the other hand is for the management of pediatric patients. The term pediatric generally refers to minors – or children younger than 18 years old. However, PALS focuses on very young children, particularly infants and toddlers.
The Emergency Response System
In basic and advanced training, activating the emergency response system is the first step performed after assessing the victim. Cardiac arrest victims are typically unresponsive, pulseless, and exhibit irregular breathing. The attack is usually preceded by severe chest pain and high blood pressure. These signs and symptoms may have also been manifested several days before the attack.
If you are a lone rescuer, immediately assess the victim’s pulse and breathing and try to rouse him or her with tapping, shaking, and shouting. If the victim remains unresponsive, call for help or have someone else do it. Do not take more than a minute to rouse and check the victim over. Usually, once the dispatcher has been contacted, the untrained rescuer is guided in giving chest compressions and rescue breaths (of course, unless the rescuer is trained).
Checking the pulse and breathing should not last longer than 10 seconds. The rescuer can check for the pulse on the neck (carotid artery) and the upper limbs (radial and brachial artery). The most common place is the neck however, because the pulse in that area is much easier to detect. Lay persons are not advised to check for a pulse, and immediately assume cardiac arrest if the victim is unresponsive and is not breathing regularly.
ACLS training program
At our providers, we have an ACLS program available all week. It is 16 hours long in total and will take two days to complete. There are several sessions throughout the day, with a number of breaks in between. The program itself is focused on ACLS rescue and the ACLS guidelines from the American Heart Association (AHA) and adult medical management of cardiac arrest.
Re-certification is also available for the ACLS program (as well as PALS training). The class is 5-6 hours long and takes one day to complete. It is much shorter than the regular ACLS program. However, only rescuers whose credentials have not yet expired can take re-certification. If your ACLS certificate has expired, you have to take the 2-day ACLS program to get renewed.