Published On: Tue, Feb 21st, 2017

Advanced Cardiac Life Support (ACLS)

Tragedy and accidents tend to happen at the least expected time. Although tragedy and accidents may occur, if you have the necessary knowledge and skills, you can be able to save lives. It is for this reason; the American Heart Association develop series of ACLS algorithms for anyone to use in times of tragedy or accidents. These algorithms include:

  •    Basic Life Support (BLS)
  •    Pediatric Advanced Life Support (PALS)
  •    Advanced Cardiac Life Support (ACLS)
blood clot

IMAGE/National Heart Lung and Blood Institute (NIH)

These algorithms provide a detailed step by step guideline on how to respond so that you can be able to save a life. However, let’s look at advanced cardiac systems life support (ACLS). ACLS refers to various medical steps taken regarding an emergency when there is cardiac arrest or stroke. It was first published in 1974, by the America Heart Association, and over the years it has been updated.  

The Advance Cardiac Life Support is broad, and it includes:

  •    ACLS Bradycardia Algorithm
  •    ACLS Tachycardia Algorithm
  •    ACLS Cardiac Arrest PEA and Asystole Algorithm
  •    ACLS Cardiac Arrest VTach and Vfib Algorithm
  •    ACLS Acute Coronary Syndrome Algorithm
  •    ACLS Post Cardiac Arrest Care Algorithm



  • ACLS Bradycardia Algorithm


ACLS Bradycardia Algorithm is applied in cases whereby someone starts showing symptoms of bradycardia. Which can be caused by hypoxia, acidosis, hyperkalemia, hypothermia, heart blocks, toxins, and trauma.  The first step is to find the air pathway, and if necessary you could help in breathing. Then check and monitor the heart rate, then try to access IO. If the patient is not responding you apply shock.


  • ACLS Tachycardia Algorithm


It is used for patients who have tachycardia, that is they have more than 150 beats per minute. When a patient starts showing tachycardia symptoms, it is important you follow this step.

  •    Try to find an airway and try to keep it open to allow air to get in
  •    If the patient is having difficulty, try to help in breathing
  •    Monitor the heart rate, the level of oxygen in blood and blood pressure through the monitors.
  •    In case the standard of oxygen saturation is insufficient, supply extra oxygen till the O2 saturation is between 94%-99%


  • ACLS Cardiac Arrest PEA and Asystole Algorithm


To perform this, you should first have knowledge on how to deliver CPR to patients. ACLS Cardiac Arrest PEA and Asystole Algorithm is complicated and should only be carried by a trained personnel


  • ACLS Post Cardiac Arrest Care Algorithm


Performed after the patient has the return of spontaneous circulation (ROSC). Conducted so that the patient can achieve full recovery.

ACLS Acute Coronary Syndrome Algorithm

When a patient is brought having an acute coronary syndrome, ACLS Acute Coronary Syndrome Algorithm is performed. A person with acute coronary syndrome will start showing the following symptoms; Constant vomiting or nausea, lack of breath, severe chest pain, and severe.


Over the years ACLS have been used to save numerous lives. Although published in 1974, there have been so many advancements in the area.

Author: Pankaj Deb

Image/ZooFari via wikimedia commons

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