A Guide to Good Health

3 FAQ About ACLS Certification

If you are a health care professional, such as a doctor, nurse, or paramedic, it is strongly recommended that you go through ACLS training and obtain certification. If you are not sure what this is, here are the answers to three frequently asked questions about ACLS certification.

1. What Are the Differences Between ACLS and BLS?

ACLS stands for Advanced Cardiovascular Life Support. Most health care professionals receive training in Basic Life Support (BLS). Both ACLS and BLS are used to help save the lives of those who are experiencing cardiac arrest.

They both also provide training in CPR and the use of an automated external defibrillator (AED). BLS is usually required for medical professionals, but anyone can receive BLS certification. This includes lifeguards, babysitters, and coaches.

ACLS, on the other hand, is designed specifically for health care professionals. ACLS goes beyond the basics of BLS and includes training in understanding cardiac diagnostic test results and how to administer certain pharmaceutical drugs.

2. What Conditions Does ACLS Certification Address?

ACLS training and certification addresses life-threatening cardiac conditions. Here are a few of these cardiac conditions.

Sudden Cardiac Arrest (SCA)

Every year, as many as 325,000 people in the United States die as a result of sudden cardiac arrest. In some instances, there are no symptoms of SCA. If there are symptoms, they usually include tightness in the chest and shortness of breath. While CPR helps in the event of SCA, using an AED within minutes of SCA will increase the chances of saving a life.

Acute Coronary Syndromes

Every year, almost 400,000 people in the United States die from acute coronary syndromes. A myocardial infarction, or heart attack, is the most common type of acute coronary syndrome. This condition happens when a blood clot gets stuck in the coronary artery of the heart. Symptoms often include fainting, sudden sweating, and palpitations. In order to prevent death, treatment must be provided within hours of the heart attack.

3. How Do I Obtain ACLS Certification?

Legitimate ACLS certification meets specific standards set by the American Heart Association (AHA). Certification that has been approved by the AHA will require you to take a written exam along with a hands-on skills test. Local hospitals provide courses for ACLS training and certification.

In most cases, health care professionals who work at these hospitals can take the course at a discounted rate. While many websites promote ACLS certification, these may not be AHA approved. If you obtain ACLS certification online but it does not follow the standards of the AHA, most hospitals won't accept it.

For more information, contact a medical center that offers ACLS training.