According to the statistics, coronary artery disease is accountable for 1 in 4 deaths in the US. At the same time, in 2021, 19.32% of all deaths in Florida were related to heart diseases, while the crude rate per 100,000 stood at 227.3, making heart disease the leading cause of death.
Research on survival rates shows a much higher number of in-hospital cardiac arrest patients (IHCA) who received advanced CPR than out-of-hospital cardiac arrest (OHCA) patients who received basic CPR. The survival ratio is 24 % for IHCA vs. 12% for OHCA.
Unlike basic CPR, which can increase a person’s chances of survival two to three times, the administration of advanced cardiovascular life support can do even more as it emphasizes the importance of continuous use of high-quality CPR. That said, here’s what every Wesley Chapel resident needs to know about advanced cardiovascular life support.
What Is Advanced Cardiovascular Life Support?
Advanced Cardiac Life Support, ACLS, or ALS, is a term that refers to using advanced medical techniques for treating life-threatening conditions, such as cardiac arrest. ACLS is essentially an expanded version of Basic Life Support (BLS) incorporating advanced CPR techniques and procedures.
ACLS treatments can include:
- Airway stabilization: placing a breathing tube into the patient’s windpipe and using mechanical ventilation.
- Arterial line insertion: putting a catheter into an artery to check the blood pressure.
- Cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR): performing chest compressions to keep the blood pumping.
- Cardioversion and defibrillation: using shocks to establish a regular heart rhythm.
- IV catheter placement: using a needle to administer medications and fluids directly into the patient’s vein.
ACLS is usually performed by cardiac surgeons, cardiologists, critical care medicine doctors, and thoracic surgeons. That’s why ACLS courses in Wesley Chapel are not intended for bystanders but for medical providers, paramedics, physicians, and, in some cases, nurses.
Medical providers can perform ACLS in both out-of-hospital and in-hospital settings (i.e., in the ER, ICU, or OR). The procedure will not always look the same since it will depend on the situation or the condition of the patient. However, ACLS always incorporates monitoring vital signs, performing CPR using a defibrillator, and inserting a tube into the nose or mouth of the patients if they have problems breathing.
The Main Difference Between ACLS and BLS
There are many differences between BLS and ACLS techniques. Primarily, BLS courses are designed for everyone, from bystanders to teachers, lifeguards, coaches, and babysitters. On the other hand, ACLS courses are designed for healthcare professionals with medical knowledge and background, such as paramedics, physicians, and anesthesiologists.
BLS courses incorporate basic life-saving techniques, such as performing CPR and using AEDs. On the other hand, ACLS classes integrate advanced CPR techniques, such as airway stabilization, arterial line insertion, and defibrillation. That’s why ACLS courses also include lessons on using advanced tools, like ECGs, IV catheters, and mechanical ventilation.
What’s more, BLS is performed in out-of-hospital settings, while ACLS can be performed in both in-hospital and out-of-hospital settings. BLS courses will teach people how to provide immediate help, while ACLS courses will offer medical health professionals insight into advanced life support techniques.
What Will Wesley Chapel Residents Learn by Taking ACLS Courses
Advanced CPR techniques like ACLS training teache healthcare providers how to recognize the early signs of cardiac arrest, as well as how to respond accordingly. This course can cover numerous topics, from BLS and EKG to advanced cardiac life support and pharmacology.
With that in mind, Wesley Chapel residents can attain advanced cardiovascular life support classes provided by the American Heart Association or the American Red Cross.
AHA ACLS Courses
The first course is intended for healthcare specialists who either run or participate in administering cardiovascular emergencies. Contrary to this, the second class is intended for experienced providers regularly participating in emergency evaluations. They must also know how to read an ECG and how to use ACLS pharmacology.
In the Advanced ACLS course, participants learn how to recognize early signs of respiratory and cardiac arrest, how to perform chest compressions, use AEDs, and how to use bag-mask devices. The classes also include airway and stroke management, learning how to communicate properly with resuscitation teams, and utilizing pharmacology.
These classes come in two formats – classroom and blended (online + hands-on skills session). The first course lasts about 15 hours and 20 minutes, while the second one lasts 5-6 hours.
On the other hand, the ACLS course for Experienced Providers also teaches students how to recognize early signs of respiratory and cardiac arrest, with an emphasis on prioritizing chest compressions and using AEDs. Participants also learn how to apply ACLS techniques during cardiac arrest until reanimation or termination and how to help patients after cardiac arrest. These classes come in a hands-on class format, lasting about 8 hours.
American Red Cross ACLS Courses
American Red Cross ACLS courses are designed for healthcare professionals only. In these classes, participants learn to use the following in both IHCA and OHCA settings:
- how to use advanced life support techniques
- how to manage respiratory emergencies
- how to properly use ACLS protocols in cases of cardiac arrest, acute arrhythmias, and acute stroke.
The classes also incorporate post-cardiac arrest care.
ACLS classes are available in a blended format, i.e., online training + in-person skills sessions. After the participants pass the written exam, they’ll have to demonstrate their ACLS skills in front of a certified ALS/ACLS Red Cross instructor. To successfully complete the course, students will receive an ALS certificate that will be valid for 2 years.
How to Get ACLS Certified in Wesley Chapel
Wesley Chapel residents who want to obtain ACLS certification can attend classes that follow the American Heart Association CPR and ECC guidelines. However, only people who have fulfilled the following prerequisites can register for ACLS classes:
- They must have a BLS course completion certificate
- They must have a valid healthcare provider license
- They must have AHA’s ACLS Provider Manual
ACLS exams are made of multiple-choice questions that are related to different situations. For example, “What amount of time should ACLS providers minimize interruptions during chest compressions?” To pass the test, participants will have to score at least 84%.
After completing the ACLS course, participants will receive a certificate valid for 2 years. It’s very important to renew ACLS certifications every two years since the American Heart Association regularly updates its guidelines.
Since ACLS training incorporates advanced CPR techniques, people not in the healthcare industry will be unable to obtain an ACLS certificate. On the other hand, the ACLS certificate is mandatory for all hospital staff working in emergency departments and critical and intensive care units.
Here are the main benefits that Wesley Chapel healthcare providers can obtain by becoming ACLS certified:
- Learning advanced CPR using ACLS techniques cannot only help save lives but will also teach medical health professionals how to communicate with resuscitation teams.
- By learning ACLS, medical professionals will acquire technical knowledge that will help them treat cardiac arrest victims more efficiently. They’ll also learn how to use advanced equipment.
- ACLS certificates issued by the American Heart Association and Red Cross America are recognized everywhere in the world.
- ACLS training will help medical professionals expand their basic CPR techniques and knowledge, which will help them advance in their careers.
The Importance of Learning Advanced CPR Techniques
Obtaining an ACLS certificate will help healthcare professionals in Wesley Chapel learn advanced CPR techniques and thereby save more lives. This certificate will also bring other benefits to its holder, such as career advancement and higher salary since ACLS training incorporates advanced technology, which requires technical knowledge.
The use of advanced CPR techniques is not only useful in the hospital environment but also in out-of-hospital settings where a timely response can make the biggest difference.
Wesley Chapel residents will attend advanced cardiovascular life support courses from reputable training centers and institutions offering valid and globally recognized certificates.