Basic life support is a category of medical care offered to individuals suffering from life-threatening injuries or conditions. This is done until they can receive full medical assistance from sophisticated life support providers (paramedics, nurses, physicians).
It can be provided by both trained health care professionals such as ambulance technicians, and competent bystanders,
The International Liaison Committee on Resuscitation (ILCOR) was established in 1992 to coordinate global resuscitation efforts. ILCOR members come from a variety of countries, including the United States, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand, as well as the European, Asian, and African continents.
The committee issued the first resuscitation guidelines in 2000. The committee’s 2005 publication, The International Consensus on Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation (CPR) and Emergency Cardiovascular Care (ECC) Science, included treatment suggestions.
Methods of Basic Life Support
- ThreatsOne of the first steps in emergency service is to evaluate the circumstances for potential hazards. If the individual does not remove themselves or other people from the danger, they may become a client and require emergency assistance themselves, or they may become unable to help the other patient. Examples of dangerous situations that should be avoided before administering BLS include electrocution, assault, drowning, and burning.
- ResponseIn an emergency, checking for a response is the next step because using more forceful BLS methods may aggravate the patient’s condition and be perceived as an assault. The acronym AVPU (Alert, Verbal, Pain, Unconscious) is commonly used to quickly assess a patient’s level of consciousness.
- Send for assistanceSending for assistance allows for much more help to be provided to the patient, increasing their chances of receiving ALS.
- Air pathwayThe Jaw Thrust maneuver is preferred for opening the airway because the head-tilt maneuver is thought to be more dangerous for people with suspected spinal injuries. If the patient is at risk of pulmonary aspiration, they should be placed in the recovery position or undergo more advanced airway management.
- BreathingOnce the airway has been opened, check for breathing; if the respiratory rate is less than 12-20 breaths per minute, CPR should begin; if the patient is breathing normally, the rescuer should place them in an acceptable position and call an ambulance.
- Resuscitation of the heart and lungsCardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) is a life-saving strategy that combines chest compressions with artificial ventilation. This is in an attempt to manually preserve intact brain function until further measures are taken to restore spontaneous blood circulation and breathing in a person who is in cardiac arrest.
In addition, the rescuer may provide artificial ventilation by exhaling air into the subject’s mouth or nose (mouth-to-mouth resuscitation).
Alternatively, a device that pushes air into the subject’s lungs (lung-pump resuscitation) may be used (mechanical ventilation). The current guidelines favor rapid and effective chest compressions above artificial ventilation. They advise novice rescuers to use a more basic CPR technique.
- DefibrillationAfter obtaining an automated external defibrillator (AED), the rescuer should complete the round of CPR. He/she should use the AED, and then begin another round of CPR.
However, the AED will usually alert the rescuer if there are any impediments to continued CPR (such as a sinus rhythm or asystole), in which case the rescuer may be instructed to stop CPR.
- Cardiac arrestWhen the heart stops beating suddenly, it enters cardiac arrest. Early defibrillation is critical in this situation for restoring the patient’s heart rhythm.When a defibrillator is not readily available, a rescuer or bystander should keep the blood flowing by performing age-appropriate chest compressions and rescue breaths until one becomes available.
- Arrest of the Respiratory SystemWhen a patient is in respiratory arrest, there is no measurable breathing. It is often associated with cardiac arrest, but this is not always the case.
In infants and toddlers, the most common indication for BLS is respiratory arrest. The most key factor in restoring the patient’s breathing is to provide high-quality rescue breaths.
- DrowningDrowning In this situation, rescue breathing is especially important. A lone rescuer should typically perform CPR for a fleeting period of time before leaving the patient to contact emergency medical services.
Because hypoxemia is the leading cause of cardiac arrest and death in drowning and choking patients, it is recommended that rescue breaths be administered first, followed by chest compressions (if pulseless). If the patient has a shockable rhythm, early defibrillation is still advised.
- ChokingWhen a foreign body obstructs the trachea, it causes choking. Only intervene:
- If a patient exhibits symptoms of severe airway obstruction, such as
a. Silent cough,
b. Cyanosis, or
c. Inability to speak or breathe.
- If a patient is coughing violently, rescuers should not interfere and should encourage the patient to continue coughing.
- If a patient exhibits symptoms of severe airway obstruction, anti-choking maneuvers such as back slaps or, in extreme cases, abdominal thrusts should be used until the obstruction is relieved.
- When a patient loses consciousness, the rescuer should lower him to the ground, phone the medical emergency line for their state, and start performing CPR.
People with particular care
When performing comprehensive basic life support, lay people and medical personnel are encouraged to remember that certain groups of people have specific conditions that must be considered.
- Pregnant women: When the patient is in late pregnancy, chest thrusts should be used instead of abdominal thrusts to relieve choking.
- Obese: If a choking patient is obese and a rescuer is unable to perform adequate abdominal thrusts, they are encouraged to perform chest thrusts instead.
- Infants: Abdominal thrusts should not be used to relieve choking in infants underage one due to the risk of injury. Instead, a series of back slaps and chest compressions should be used.