Advanced Life Support described management of cardiac arrest in a medical setting, like a hospital or an outpatient center. Unlike Basic Life Support that teaches management of CA before medical help arrives, ALS programs are focused on how to give CPR once a victim is brought to the emergency room or collapses in a clinical area. There are two kinds of ALS programs, ACLS and PALS. ACLS stands for Advanced Cardiac Life Support and focuses on adults, while PALS stands for Pediatric Advanced Life Support and focuses on pediatric victims.
Enrolment and program sign up
Different methods are available for sign up, the easiest and hassle-free way is through the online enrolment forms on the provider webpages. These forms can be filled out at any time of the day but are only processed during regular business hours. Similarly, applications can also be forwarded through e-mail or fax, but walk-ins are still preferred by the staff to complete any personal and financial details.
Certificates are awarded to students once they pass the post-tests (certification tests) given at the end of a program. These tests can either be a skills test, written exam, or both. Certificates have a validity of 2 years. If the rescuer plans on renewing the certificate, he or she has to do so before the expiration. Re-certification is available for ACLS training. Expired certificates are not accepted for renewal; the rescuer will have to retake the program.
ACLS training covers a lot of ground, focusing the medical management of cardiac arrest. Cardiac arrest happens when the heart cannot pump enough blood to the rest of the body effectively. Without oxygenated blood, our major organs start to die, the worst effects stemming from hypoxemia of brain tissue. The first step in managing cardiac arrest is learning to recognize it. Patients who suddenly experience a cardiac emergency can complain of severe chest pain followed by a loss of consciousness.
Chest compressions are given to patients once cardiac arrest has been recognized and a “code” has been called. A cycle of 30 chest compressions and 2 rescue breaths are given to patients. Remember to depress the chest by 2 inches and allow it to recoil before the next comperssion. Rescue breaths are given by bag valving the victim; typically, intubation (insertion of an endotracheal tube) is done beforehand.
Defibrillation with a manual defibrillator is also an important part of ACLS training, including being able to read ECG results. ECGs are used to determine the rhythm of the heart, and if pharmacological intervention is need. When CPR is ongoing, epinephrine is given intravenously every 3 minutes. Other medications are given once the heart starts beating spontaneously but has irregular rhythm.
Program details: ACLS training runs for 16 hours in total. Training is complete in two days, with a skills test and written exam given at the end of the program after all the lessons have been completed. Before applying for ACLS training, you have to have a valid Basic Life Support for HCPs training certificate and pass the pre-test (a skills test and written exam as well).