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Adult Cardiac Arrest ACLS Algorithm - Updated 2018

The ACLS algorithms are a continuation of resuscitation attempts for those patients who have been evaluated and found to require advanced resuscitative measures after CPR and defibrillation during the BLS Assessment. The Cardiac Arrest Algorithm is the most critical algorithm of ACLS. When you have a patient without a pulse, you must recognize either ventricular fibrillation (VF) or pulseless ventricular tachycardia (pVT) as shockable rhythms. In contrast, you do not shock PEA or asystole, and must follow another pathway of the Cardiac Arrest Algorithm.

Adult Cardiac Arrest Algorithm Download Printable Algorithm

Algorithm Notes

  • The key component of treatment for VF and pulseless VT is rapid defibrillation.

  • A manual defibrillator is preferable, if available, since an AED may require prolonged interruptions in chest compressions while it analyzes the rhythm.

  • Stacked shocks should NOT be used.

  • Defibrillators can be biphasic or monophasic. Most defibrillators available today are biphasic, which means that the electrical current travels from one paddle to the other and back again. This requires less energy to restore normal heart rhythm, and is believed to result in less cellular damage in the heart while reducing skin burns.

CRITICAL CONCEPTS:

  • Minimize the interruption of CPR for shock, rhythm check, and pulse check. Continue compressions while the defibrillator is charging.

  • Purchase course for access to all Adult Cardiac Arrest Algorithm Critical Concepts

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The Advanced Cardiac Life Support (ACLS) Certification teaches medical professionals how to respond to nearly all cardiopulmonary emergencies.

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The Pediatric Advanced Life Support (PALS) Certification teaches medical professionals to manage and respond to cardiopulmonary resuscitation of pediatric patients in emergency situations.

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All ACLS Algorithms

Adult Cardiac Arrest Algorithm

Adult Cardiac Arrest Algorithm

The Cardiac Arrest Algorithm is the most critical algorithm of ACLS. When you have a patient without a pulse, you must recognize either ventricular fibrillation (VF) or pulseless ventricular tachycardia (pVT) as shockable rhythms.

View Algorithm

Cardiac Arrest Circular Algorithm

Cardiac Arrest Circular Algorithm

This algorithm is a summary of the recommended steps when a patient is in cardiac arrest. Starting with CPR, you’ll work through the sequence by relying on rhythm checks, shocks if VF/pVT, and drug delivery.

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Suspected Stroke Algorithm

Suspected Stroke Algorithm

The ACLS Suspected Stroke Algorithm emphasizes critical actions for out-of-hospital and in-hospital care and treatment. A stroke is an interruption in blood supply to a part of the brain which causes acute neurologic impairment.

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Post-Cardiac Arrest Care Algorithm

Post Cardiac Arrest Care Algorithm

This will take you through the implementation of a comprehensive treatment protocol for post-cardiac arrest care. This case is applicable to a patient who has had cardiac arrest and was resuscitated with the BLS, ACLS Primary, and ACLS Secondary Assessments.

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Acute Coronary Syndromes Algorithm

Acute Coronary Sydromes Algorithm

The steps of this ACS Algorithm outline the assessment and management guidelines for patients experiencing symptoms suggestive of ischemia or infarction.

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Bradycardia With A Pulse Algorithm

Bradycardia With A Pulse Algorithm

The Bradycardia Algorithm provides the information you need to assess and manage a patient with symptomatic bradycardia or a heart rate under 50 bpm. For some people (ie. runners), a slower heart rate may be normal and they will be asymptomatic.

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Tachycardia With A Pulse Algorithm

Tachycardia With A Pulse Algorithm

With this algorithm, you'll need to determine if the patient is stable or unstable by evaluating and determining if the rhythm is regular or irregular and if the QRS is wide or narrow. This can help you determine the type of tachyarrhythmia.

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