What is ACLS

Advanced Cardiac Life Support

When times of urgency arise in terms of health, you have to be ready and prepared to intervene. In the events of cardiac arrest, stroke and other life emergencies, you have to come prepared. This is the very reason why Advanced Cardiac Life Support was developed for physicians, nurses and other healthcare practitioners as well as those involved in life rescue operations like firemen and soldiers.

What is Advanced Cardiac Life Support?

Advanced Cardiac Life Support or commonly abbreviated as ACLS, is a set of clinical interventions, techniques and methods in which provides the urgent response and treatment to any person who has experienced events like cardiac arrest, stroke, choking and other life threatening emergencies that need prompt medical intervention to save the person’s life. It requires a special set of knowledge and skills from the performer and is commonly learned by healthcare practitioners or those personnel working in a healthcare setting, worldwide.

What is the Purpose of Advanced Cardiac Life Support?

Advanced Cardiac Life Support has one main purpose – to save lives. It consists of medical interventions that aim to save lives that are taught through a specialized training and class to ensure adequate knowledge, skills and expertise that can be achieved by the practitioner. Only those who are qualified healthcare practitioners can provide ACLS. This is because ACLS requires interventions that overlap the existing medical practices that physicians, nurses and other healthcare providers do.

The interventions in ACLS include the following:

Managing or securing a patient’s airway

Initiating IV access

Interpreting results of an electrocardiogram into specific cardiac rhythms

Have a clear understanding of emergency pharmacology

Performing cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR)

Delivering of defibrillation or cardioversion

The Priorities of ACLS and BLS

In Basic Life Support or BLS and Advanced Cardiac Life Support or ACLS, the goal is always geared towards saving the life of the patient. As such, the American Heart Association (AHA) has developed a set of priorities that aim to do so.

In the 2010 guidelines of BLS and ACLS, the priorities were set as Airway, Breathing and Circulation, abbreviated as ABC. The guidelines also stated that high quality chest compression during CPR and early defibrillation are essential in obtaining positive outcomes in saving the life of a patient.

It was then that these guidelines were updated in 2010. In the new guidelines of BLS and ACLS, the focus this time was centered on monitoring the tidal carbon dioxide levels to know how effective the rendered CPR is and as well as measuring the Return of Spontaneous Circulation (ROSC). The priorities were then reordered from ABC into CAB or Circulation, Airway and Breathing. This brings a focus on prompt chest compressions, even recommending that CPR with chest compressions be done for lay persons who respond to emergencies.

What are the Situations that Warrant Advanced Cardiac Life Support?

Any condition that stops the heart warrants for CPR and other corresponding interventions in ACLS. This is to prevent cell death since perfusion is halted when the heart stops. Conditions like myocardial infarction, coronary artery disease, stroke and other cardiac conditions are commonly in need of CPR.