The AHA Update brought several changes, including the introduction of 3 new ACLS, PALS, and BLS algorithms.
The American Heart Association typically releases updates every 5 years. However, these updates can be applied to a variety of topics, so it’s not set in stone precisely when these updates will come into effect. Regardless of when they are released, it is important to keep track of these updates in order to understand precisely what will be expected of you when seeking out medical certifications.
At eMedCert, we previously released a blog titled: “Everything You Need To Know About The AHA Guidelines Update.” That blog illustrated the changes brought forth by the much-awaited release of the updated AHA CPR and ECC guidelines. While that particular publication was designed to discuss the AHA update on a broad scale by listing the most significant changes, we felt it necessary to also release a follow-up. In this blog, we will discuss a specific component of the guidelines: the updated algorithms.
AHA Updated Algorithms
Arguably the most significant change to the AHA guidelines with the update involved the splitting of the Pediatric BLS (Basic Life Support) Algorithm. The previous Pediatric BLS algorithm was separated into two algorithms in order to differentiate between single-rescuer and multi-rescuer emergency scenarios.
In addition, there was a third algorithm update that came into play with the AHA guideline updates. This one is a brand new algorithm designed to handle an opioid-associated emergency. It is known as the Opioid-Associated Life-Threatening Emergency Algorithm.
These algorithms are taught in various medical certifications in order to ensure that students have a clear overview of how to deal with specific emergencies. They outline certain procedures which can be followed rigorously and without variation. In this way, they provide medical professionals with a straight path for how to deal with certain situations. The 3 most current updates to the AHA algorithms are as follows:
Single-rescuer and Multiple-Rescuer BLS Algorithm
“Algorithms for single-rescuer and multiple-rescuer BLS have been separated to better guide rescuers through the initial stages of resuscitation in an era in which handheld cellular telephones with speakers are common. These devices can enable a single rescuer to activate an emergency response while beginning CPR; the rescuer can continue conversation with a dispatcher during CPR. These algorithms can continue to emphasize the high priority for high-quality CPR and, in the case of sudden, witnessed collapse, for obtaining an AED quickly because such an event is likely to have a cardiac etiology.” – from the AHA Guidelines for CPR and ECC
Opioid-Associated Life-Threatening Emergency Algorithm
“Empiric administration of IM or IN naloxone to all unresponsive victims of possible opioid-associated life-threatening emergency may be reasonable as an adjunct to standard first aid and non-HCP BLS protocols. For patients with known or suspected opioid overdose who have a definite pulse but no normal breathing or only gasping (ie, a respiratory arrest), in addition to providing standard care, it is reasonable for appropriately trained rescuers to administer IM or IN naloxone to patients with an opioid-associated respiratory emergency. Responders should not delay access to more advanced medical services while awaiting the patient’s response to naloxone or other interventions.
Empiric administration of IM or IN naloxone to all unresponsive opioid-associated resuscitative emergency patients may be reasonable as an adjunct to standard first aid and non-HCP BLS protocols. Standard resuscitation procedures, including EMS activation, should not be delayed for naloxone administration.” – from the AHA Guidelines for CPR and ECC
For more information on the AHA Guidelines for CPR and ECC, check out our previous blog. For more information on the courses we offer which will utilize the algorithms above, please visit our website today.