What is Advanced Cardiac Life Support? (ACLS)

Advanced Cardiac Life Support (ACLS) provides education on advanced life-saving cardiac procedures and technologies.

It educates licensed medical professionals on adequately assessing and treating patients requiring cardiac medical intervention.

The ACLS course offers life-saving procedures for strokes, cardiac arrest, airway obstructions, and other life-threatening cardiovascular emergencies.

Advanced Cardiac Life Support requires considerable education and field training to master the skills.

Thus, highly trained professionals perform ACLS to ensure emergency patients receive the best medical care possible.

Medical professionals learn various skills from BLS and pharmacology to proper equipment use and communication.

They also learn how to interpret and utilize data from life-saving medical gear.

The following section explores some of the coursework covered by ACLS courses.

Advanced Cardiac Life Support Courses May Include:

  • Essential Life Support (BLS),
  • Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation (CPR)
  • Intravenous Therapy (IV) training
  • Automated external defibrillator (AED)
  • Manual defibrillator training
  • Proper airway management education
  • Application and Interpretation of electrocardiograms (ECG)
  • Emergency pharmacology

Professionals taking ACLS courses receive textbooks and hands-on training.

The course focuses on various topics and interventions related to cardiovascular medical care.

In addition to providing hands training, healthcare professionals learn the proper use and application of ACLS drugs.

Healthcare professionals may utilize particular drug therapies before, during, and after ACLS care.

It ensures that the patient is stable, receives the best care possible, and can make a speedy recovery.

The field of ACLS training is constantly advancing and developing as new technologies and procedures develop.

Accordingly, it ensures healthcare professionals have the best education for assessing, understanding, and treating the various heart and cardiovascular complications.

Differences Between BLS and ACLS

There are primary differences between BLS and ACLS.

BLS or basic life support centers on educating people on how to perform fundamental life support procedures like CPR and AED.

Accordingly, it provides simple basic life-saving skills to assist those with breathing/respiratory problems.

Because the course isn’t complex, most capable individuals can obtain BLS certification through a certified course.

A typical BLS course requires 4 – 6 hours to complete and is significantly less comprehensive than ACLS.

With that said, BLS is a necessary component of ACLS, and without it, people may not survive long enough to receive advanced medical care.

What Does The BLS Course Teach?

  • Basic life support
  • Cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR)
  • Automated external defibrillators (AED)
  • Airway obstruction relief

ACLS, or advanced cardiac life support, focuses on advanced life-saving skills.

As a result, licensed healthcare professionals primarily take this course to provide necessary life-saving interventions.

It includes professionals like paramedics, nurses, physicians, and other advanced medical providers.

ACLS centers on BLS, airway management, assessment and treatment of cardiovascular issues, ACLS pharmacology, and effective communication.

It also covers EKG interpretation, electrical therapy, drug administration, and other life-saving skills.

ACLS allows healthcare professionals to implement vital procedures and technologies to stabilize and save patient lives.

A typical ACLS course requires 15 – 20 hours to complete and is much more advanced than BLS certification.

Before joining the course, students may need to complete the ALCS Precourse Self-Assessment.

What Does The ACLS Course Teach?

  • Basic life support skills
  • Airway management
  • Assessment and treatment of cardiovascular issues
  • Management of ACS and stroke
  • Recognition and management of respiratory arrest
  • Recognition and management of respiratory arrest
  • Recognition and management of peri-arrest conditions
  • Understanding ACLS pharmacology
  • Effective communication
  • ECG reading and Interpretation

How Long is Advanced Life Support Valid?

According to Heart.org, ACLS certification is valid for approximately two years.

Most active professionals do not need to create the entire ACLS course again after their initial completion.

However, they must renew it every two years to keep it active.

Those who allow their certification to expire may need to take a recertification course to reactivate their certification.

Fortunately, the recertification course is likely less expensive and time-consuming than the initial ACLS course.

Are ALS and ACLS The Same?

Advanced life support (ALS) and advanced cardiac life support (ACLS) are often interchangeably referenced.

As a result, most medical professionals consider the two abbreviations to have the same meaning.

With that said, ACLS is the more common abbreviation utilized in medical care.

Is ACLS Certification Hard?

Everyone is different when it comes to interpreting and understanding medical topics.

However,  some students consider ACLS certification courses to be challenging.

Having a good instructor is highly beneficial for correctly understanding various ACLS topics.

You can ask prior students/peers or consult your local hospital to find a suitable course instructor.

In addition, there are numerous online resources, videos, and books to guide you through the ACLS course.

These resources are an excellent way to obtain information differently, so it’s easier to understand and memorize.

Finally, developing good study habits to help with your ACLS training is essential for performing well. 

How to Get ACLS Certification

Qualified healthcare professionals may take online ACLS courses with supplemental classroom training to obtain ACLS training and recertification.

There are also programs offering training and education entirely in the classroom.

Those looking to get ACLS certified through an online program should ensure the ACLS program is American Heart Association (AHA) accredited.

Many healthcare providers require healthcare specialists to provide an American Heart Association provider card.

It ensures they receive sufficient training in the area of ACLS.

It also ensures they’ve received clearance from the AHA on their training and certification.

There are several good online programs available for ACLS training & certification.

However, some hospitals and healthcare organizations may prefer healthcare specialists to take classroom courses.

These courses provide more one-on-one and group-oriented training than split online/classroom courses.

It also helps ensure that healthcare specialists receive sufficient training from an AHA-approved ACLS certification provider.

Consult your hospital or healthcare organization if you’re unsure which class to take.

They can guide you in selecting a suitable ACLS training program.

It’s one of the best ways to ensure you receive proper training and certification from an AHA-accredited ACLS provider.

Finally, you can find numerous online resources to obtain certification for those interested in learning more about ACLS.

It includes the American Heart Association, Heart.org, ACLS.com, and other websites.

These websites provide valuable information on taking the ACLS training and certification program.

They also offer ACLS courses for those ready to become certified.

Besides that, you can find information related to ACLS certification through a local hospital or healthcare center.