ACLS: Advanced Cardiac Life Support

We get quite a few hits to this blog for people looking for online information about Advanced Cardiac Life Support (ACLS) or how to get certified in ACLS. Here’s a quick blog post which answers a few common questions about ACLS.

What is ACLS?

Advanced Cardiac Life Support, or ACLS, is a set of clinical techniques used in medical emergencies such as cardiac arrest and cardiac arrhythmias.  In the United Kingdom it is known as “Advanced Life Support” (ALS).

ACLS CPR Training

ACLS is typically taught to trained healthcare professionals such as paramedics, doctors, nurses and allied healthcare professionals. Performing ACLS involves making interventions to a patient such as giving drugs through a needle or placing a tube into the lungs – for this reason only trained professionals perform ACLS.

Members of the public are taught “Basic Life Support” (BLS) which places emphasis on good quality Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation (CPR).

ACLS is the last link in the chain of survival. However it is useless without the previous links in the chain – therefore basic life support is just as important.

What are the ACLS algorithms?

The American Heart Association produces ACLS algorithms for common medical emergencies. These algorithms list the steps a healthcare professional should take when confronted with a medical emergency. It is important for providers to have a good understanding and knowledge of the ACLS algorithms. If you’re looking to take an ACLS class its always a good idea to have a read of the algorithms beforehand.

Where can I find an ACLS class?

The American Heart Association are the best place to look for an official ACLS class. Expect to pay a reasonable amount of money for certification and recertification in ACLS – this isn’t a cheap business. Beware of providers offering ‘cheap’ ACLS courses as there is often a catch.

> Find a course (AHA)

Can I take an online ACLS class?

There are lots of places offering online ACLS classes. Some mix online learning with a practical hands on session. As always do your research – ensure the ACLS provider you choose is properly certified and qualified to be teaching ACLS. Online courses suit some people more than others so make sure the ACLS class is suitable to you before committing to it.

John Furst

JOHN FURST is an experienced emergency medical technician and qualified first aid and CPR instructor. John is passionate about first aid and believes everyone should have the skills and confidence to take action in an emergency situation.

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2 Responses

  1. Rhiannon Edwards says:


    I am interested in advertising on your site, on behalf of a client of mine, Defibrillator UK. I think that they would be a great match for your site as they offer training equipment for CPR, please check out their website for more information.

    I look forward to hearing back from you.

    Rhiannon Edwards
    Creare Communications Ltd

  2. cpefley says:

    I wish that more people would learn BLS, including CPR. So many lives could be saved if only people were more properly prepared.

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