Monday, 28 November 2011
What is ACLS?
A cardiac arrest can happen at virtually any moment and at any place. There is no specific reason for a cardiac arrest to happen. People who are normal a short while ago can suffer a heart attack the very next minute. It may happen in a restaurant, an office building, a garden or any other public places. As such, these sites may become places of medical emergency at any given time.
When a person suffers from a cardiac arrest, the most important factor is to get immediate medical treatment or else it may bring about some permanent damage or even result in death. The time wasted in getting medical treatment can lessen the chances of survival of the patient. On the other hand, timely medical attention in that first few minutes may well save a person’s life. This is where ACLS comes into the fray.
ACLS or Advanced Cardiovascular Life Support (ACLS) Certification is a training given to licensed medical practitioners to deal with cardiac arrest and the restoration of blood flow to the heart and brain as quickly as possible. This is a very important certification for a doctor and can help him being a valuable asset to the society as a whole. In short ACLS is a protocol for treatment of patient who experience medical emergencies, cardiac arrest being one of them. This certification is also available for the nurses along with the doctors, but no layman is allowed for this course as it involves medical skills.
ACLS Certification is a requirement for health care professionals who work in fields such as an operating room, step-down unit, IC unit, emergency room or transport nurses.
The main function of a ACLS certified person is to bring about Basic Life Support along with Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation (CPR) and other options which stabilizes a person’s condition till more medical expertise arrive on the scene. This is, in fact, a more advanced treatment than the basic first aid available.
A course in ACLS teaches the participant the importance of irregular and regular heart rhythms and to recognize the symptoms of a full-blown cardiac arrest. Online programs are also conducted in this course. Along with the theory notes, practicals are also conducted to give the participants a hands-on knowledge and information regarding the various treatment methods available. A Basic Life Saving (BLS) course is recommended before joining ACLS, but it is not a pre-requisite for this course.
After completion of the course, an exam is conducted to gauge the participant’s knowledge of ACLS and certification is given after passing the exam. This certificate is to be renewed after every 2 years. As new techniques and concepts are added each day to the medical field, the ACLS courses try to bring up-to-date information to its members and so this certificate is valid for a period of 2 years only, after which the members has to apply for a renewed application wherein he gets this updated information of the various advanced techniques.
Some of the main functions that an ACLS certified professional performs are:
· Medical interventions such as intubations which opens the airway
· The heart beat can be regulated by shocking with a defibrillator.
· He can administer medications which may assist in resuscitation.
· An ACLS certified person can read data from the equipments such as electrocardiograms to study the patient’s condition.
· He is trained to start intravenous (IV) lines.
· He is also trained to perform surgical interventions like placement of central lines and chest tubes.
Thus, an ACLS trained medical practitioner is a very valuable person to the medical fraternity as well as for the common man.