A brief history of CPR
The concept of cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) has been around since 1740, when the Paris Academy of Sciences recommended the use of mouth-to-mouth resuscitation for victims of drowning. It was it the 1900s when Dr. George Crile reported the the first successful use of chest compressions in resuscitation. Since then, the 1900s brought about more discoveries based on research and application of new techniques resulting the creation of formal CPR guidelines used today. In 1964, The American Heart Association (AHA) formally endorsed the use of CPR in resuscitating victims of cardiac arrest. Advanced Cardiac Life Support (ACLS) was soon developed in 1973, and 10 years later, Pediatric Advanced Life Support (PALS).
The importance of CPR training
CPR training used to be monopolized by people in healthcare. However, with the recent disasters all over the world, more and more people who do not have healthcare occupations have been getting trained in CPR. CPR training is primarily focused on developing skills such as chest compressions, rescue breaths, and defibrillation, and teaching trainees the common causes of cardiovascular emergencies.
Being a trained and certified rescuer means that you are able to manage an incident of cardiac arrest and can save a life before the victim is brought to proper medical attention.
CPR training categories
There are two categories of CPR: BLS and ALS. Basic Life Support teaches trainees how to manage cardiac arrest before medical help arrives. Advanced Life Support classes teach trainees how to manage cardiac arrest in a medical/clinical setting. ALS programs are for healthcare providers only.
Basic Life Support
BLS is focused on the development of basic CPR skills. They teach standard first aid as well, primarily for bleeding, broken bones or sprains, and choking. Trainees are also taught how to use automated external defibrillators (AEDs). AEDs are machines that are attached to the chest with pads, and can detect heart rhythms and give the heart needed shock.
- Basic CPR for the public – 4 hours,;teaches one-person CPR, first aid, and AED use; certification is optional
- Basic CPR for HCPs – 4.5 hours, teaches one-person CPR, first aid, and AED use; certification exam is mandatory
- Basic Life Support for HCPs – 4.5 hours; teaches one-person and two-person CPR, first aid, and AED use; certification exam is mandatory; re-certification 4 hours
Advanced Life Support
ALS is focused on developing complex skills, primarily in how to use a crash cart, and the equipment and the medication is contains. Trainees are introduced to bag valve masks, endotracheal tubes, and medication used during a “c0de”. A “code” is called when a patient is experiencing cardiac arrest.
To qualify for ALS training, trainees are required to have a valid BLS for HCPs training credential. Trainees also need to pass a skills and written test before proceeding with ALS training.
- Advanced Cardiac Life Support (ACLS) – 16 hours, 2 days; teaches CPR management for adult victims; re-certification 5-6 hours
- Pediatric Advanced Life Support (PALS) – 14 hours, 2 days; teaches CPR management for pediatric victims; re-certification 6-8 hours