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What Is Advanced Cardiac Life Support?

Advanced Cardiac Life Support (ACLS), also known as Advanced Cardiovascular Life Support, refers to a group of medical interventions that are used to deal with specific medical emergencies. It is often used in reference to emergency treatment for heart attack (cardiac arrest), but is also used for other life threatening occasions.

Not everyone is qualified to carry out ACLS as it requires comprehensive training in the medical field, which includes hands on training and practice. In general, though, medical professionals such as nurses, doctors, and paramedics are qualified to administer ACLS. This is not a blanket rule, however, as they are still required to pass the certification test.

First published by the American Heart Association in 174, the ACLS is composed of sets of algorithms that have to be followed strictly by the administrator. They come in the form of a flowchart, where the person administering ACLS has to answer questions with a “yes” or “no” in order to determine the next course of action. Understandably, due to better techniques and technology, these algorithms have gone through several revisions in the past three or so decades, with the latest set of guidelines released in 2010.

People who want to become ACLS certified can take up courses in hospitals, schools, and other private entities. Classes are a mixture of lectures - theories and practical applications - and hands-on examinations. Since there are developments every now and then, an ACLS certification is only valid for 2 years, after which it has to be renewed.

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