In late 2010, the American Heart Association released updated recommendations for the delivery of life-saving care. Updated every five years, these recommendations directly impact ACLS training guidelines.
ACLS is a strategic and organized set of clinical interventions developed to provide urgent treatment to patients of sudden cardiac arrest. Proper knowledge and hands-on training are necessary to effectively perform ACLS. For this reason, it's vital for individuals providing emergency care to gain a strong understanding of the new ACLS guidelines.
Here are two of the key changes:
1. New recommendations for treating intubated patients are included in the new ACLS Guidelines.
2005 recommendation: An exhaled carbon dioxide detector was recommended to confirm an endotracheal tube was placed correctly.
2010 recommendation: Continuous quantitative waveform capnography is now recommended for intubated patients throughout the peri-arrest period. The new recommendations also offer recommendations for confirming tracheal tube placement and for monitoring CPR quality when quantitative waveform capnography is used for adults.
Why: Continuous waveform capnography is the most reliable method of confirming and monitoring the correct placement of an endotracheal tube.
2. The guidelines revise the use of atropine, which influences ACLS certification and ACLS renewal.
2005 recommendation: Atropine, a heart stimulant, was included in the algorithm for ACLS pulseless arrest if the patient was in asytole or slow PEA.
2010 recommendation: Atropine is no longer included in the algorithm. Instead, adenosine, used to bring the heart back to a normal rhythm, is recommended in the initial diagnosis and treatment of stable, undifferentiated regular, monomorphic wide-complex tachycardia.
Why: Evidenced-based research revealed that routine use of atropine during PEA or asytole is unlikely to have therapeutic benefits.
Health Education Solutions offers online courses and resource materials for medical professionals and first responders, as well as others who want to be prepared in a medical emergency. Health Education Solutions' online PALS and ACLS training courses and recertification materials incorporate the new PALS and ACLS guidelines. ACLS and PALS courses were developed in partnership with Union College.