Do you know the difference between ACLS and BLS? Is there a difference? Find out more in this article about both acronymic life saving techniques.
In the most basic terms, the objective of both ACLS (Advanced Cardiac Life Support) and BLS (Basic Life Support) are the same – learning the proper techniques to aid in saving the life of someone in cardiac arrest. That, however, is where the similarities cease. BLS and ACLS reach their objective goal in two very different ways.
The level of advancement between ACLS and BLS is what is most noticeable. As would seem obvious from their names, BLS is a basic level course and ACLS is much more advanced. BLS is your foundation, ACLS is the structure of knowledge you build upon that. That’s the simple overview, and in this article we will delve deeper into the differences between the two and focus on what specific differences the courses have.
BLS is all about the basics. It is the foundation of your knowledge. You will learn about the basics of AED and CPR as well other basic lifesaving techniques. BLS is primarily lifesaving skills that you would use when you are outside of a hospital. As these are basic skills, the person performing them is not always a trained medical professional. BLS courses are commonly completed coaches, teachers, babysitters and a host of other professional working around large groups of people. ACLS is designed for and specifically taught to healthcare professionals.
Background Medical Knowledge Needed
Having a background in some form of healthcare is always helpful before taking any course, but it is not necessary to begin studying BLS. The same cannot be said of ACLS. In order to take an ACLS course, you need to already have completed BLS or have some other form basic medical knowledge. Most ACLS courses will even have a review of BLS rolled into the course work. One example of this is reading and understanding ECG results. This is going to be a significant part of your ACLS exam, and it is therefore very important you already have a basic knowledge of this prior to even beginning your ACLS course.
BLS offers no guidance or training regarding what or how to administer medications in an emergency. ACLS training and certification does. Your ACLS course will introduce to multiple drugs, what they are used for, how to administer them and the basics of how they work. By the end of the course, you will know what pharmaceuticals are called for in a variety of situations and their proper administration.
The use of automated external defibrillator (AED) will be covered in both BLS and ACLS certification courses. ACLS will also cover the use of intubation materials, ECGs, intravenous medications, and emergency -scenario algorithms just to name a few.
While BLS is not as extensive as ACLS, both courses certainly have their place with their respective audiences. To learn more, visit: