ACLS, BLS, & PALS Algorithms
The American Heart Association has developed a number of algorithms so that providers can be prepared to respond to life-threatening medical events in a systematic fashion. These algorithms provide a step-by-step process for responding to various emergency situations. By learning and mastering these algorithms, you will be better prepared to face these challenges in the clinic or the community. We have adapted the following algorithms from the most recent AHA provider guidelines for ACLS certification, BLS, and PALS. They include the most recent recommendations for the general approach to patients in life-threatening situations including drug dosage recommendations and the latest diagnostic tools.
The BLS Adult Algorithm describes the approach the provider would take when they encounter an adult in cardiac and/or respiratory arrest in the community.
The BLS CPR Algorithm describes the sequence of steps for performing high-quality CPR when only one rescuer is available to help the victim. It is suitable for use in adults and children above the age of 1.
Every AED device is different, but the basic operation is the same. The AED Algorithm covers the basic operation of an AED device that you might encounter in the community.
This algorithm covers the steps necessary to provide adequate respirations during high-quality CPR. It covers the proper positioning of the head and neck, compression to breath ratios, and ways to check for adequate rescue breathing.
The BLS Infant and Child Algorithm describes the approach the provider would take when they encounter a child in cardiac and/or respiratory arrest in the community.
This algorithm describes the steps needed to perform the Heimlich maneuver in children ages 1 and older and in adults. It is for use in a conscious patient who has an object lodged in the airway that is impeding airflow to the lungs.
This algorithm describes the steps needed to perform back blows/chest thrusts in children under the age of 1. The process can be used in a conscious patient who has an object lodged in their airway.
New in 2015, bystanders may administer naloxone to victims who are apparently suffering from an opioid overdose. Unresponsive victims encountered outside a hospital may benefit from timely administration of naloxone given by trained lay providers.
The ACLS Bradycardia Algorithm contains the steps you will need to follow when you encounter a patient who has symptomatic bradycardia. Learn when to treat bradycardia, and when not to treat it.
Patients with elevated heart rates and a palpable pulse require assessment and interventions. These interventions vary depending on whether the patient is stable or unstable. Review the ACLS Tachycardia Algorithm for the adult patient with tachycardia.
Not all cardiac arrests are the same. Did you know that you do not deliver a shock to a person with pulseless electrical activity or asystole? The ACLS Adult Cardiac Arrest PEA and Asystole Algorithm covers the management of these forms of cardiac arrest.
Are the paddles ready? The ACLS Cardiac Arrest VTach and VFib Algorithm describes the systematic assessment and management of ventricular tachycardia and ventricular fibrillation including the recommended energy dosages when using monophasic and biphasic defibrillators.
The ACLS Post Cardiac Arrest Care Algorithm explains the steps you should take once a patient has achieved ROSC (return of spontaneous circulation) after cardiac arrest.
The ACLS Acute Coronary Syndrome Algorithm covers the systematic response to a patient who is having an acute coronary syndrome area acute coronary syndrome is a spectrum of conditions from unstable angina to non-ST segment elevation myocardial infarction to ST segment elevation myocardial infarction.
The PALS Sequence Algorithm describes the basic response to pediatric cardiopulmonary emergency. It covers the initial assessment in the primary assessment sequence.
The PALS Cardiac Arrest Algorithm provides a flowchart that describes the management of pediatric cardiac arrest. The main distinguishing factor between management approaches is whether the rhythm is asystole/pulseless electrical activity or ventricular fibrillation/ventricular tachycardia.
This algorithm describes the important steps necessary after a pediatric victim of shock has been successfully resuscitated. It includes both diagnostic and therapeutic steps, including transfer of the patient to a critical care setting.
The PALS Bradycardia Algorithm describes the management of bradycardia in all individuals under the age of 18, from newborn through adolescence. It includes a table of normal heart rates for various age ranges.
The PALS Tachycardia Initial Management Algorithm provides an overview of tachycardia management in pediatric patients. It includes a table of normal heart rates for various age ranges.
The PALS Tachycardia Poor Perfusion Algorithm provides a management pathway for a pediatric patient who is experiencing tachycardia that is preventing adequate tissue perfusion. Tables with normal heart rate and blood pressure values at various ages are included.
The PALS Narrow QRS Tachycardia Adequate Perfusion Algorithm describes the management of pediatric patients who has a normal QRS waveform on an ECG and is adequately perfusing his tissues.
The PALS Wide QRS Tachycardia Adequate Perfusion Algorithm describes the management of pediatric patients who has a wide QRS waveform by ECG and is adequately perfusing his tissues.