Similar to other medical protocols, ACLS is a series of steps composed of “yes” or “no” questions that guide an individual through a code. The protocol is more than a mere guideline, and the instructions must be strictly followed to ensure maximum efficiency. ACLS interventions are used by healthcare professionals, such as EMTs and paramedics, during cardiac emergency scenarios in order to facilitate advanced rescue efforts. During cardiac arrest, urgent treatment is needed, and ACLS trained professionals are qualified to provide the highest level of emergency care available to stabilize and treat acute cardiac emergencies.
ACLS protocol consists of several algorithms, which are studied during the certification process through memorization and hands-on training. In ACLS courses, these algorithms are illustrated in the form of flowcharts and other visual aids to help trainees memorize the steps more easily. These steps include “yes” or “no” questions that must be quickly answered so that CPR and advanced life support can begin. Because ACLS incorporates the use of advanced medical equipment, pharmacology, and clinical interventions, the simplification of these steps is necessary so professionals can easily remember the most important methods of identifying and treating several different cardiovascular conditions.
Here are some examples of the topics covered in ACLS protocols:
The AHA issues new guidelines for the ACLS protocols every 5 years, and all legitimate ACLS certification organizations follow these guidelines and integrate AHA standards into their coursework. Many also use textbooks, materials, and the official ACLS provider manual in their courses to ensure the highest standard for ACLS education is used in their classes.
The guidelines set by the AHA typically emphasize high quality chest compressions during CPR, and then focus on various aspects of BLS, AED usage, and ACLS pharmacology. ACLS is an advanced method that builds upon the tenets of BLS interventions, while also integrating the use of complex medical equipment and IV drugs. All ACLS trained professionals gain knowledge of these subjects through certification training, and practice them on a regular basis in their individual healthcare profession.