Basic life support also known as BLS is the basic care that public safety professionals, first-responders and healthcare providers provide to anyone experiencing an obstructed airway, respiratory distress or cardiac arrest.
One of the first component of primary care paramedic program, basic life support training focuses on the knowledge and skills required to handle cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR), using automated external defibrillators (AED) and relieving airway obstructions.
Basic Life Support Requirements
Basic life support is offered to patients in critical conditions and in addition to physical skills, BLS providers also need to have problem solving and critical-thinking skills. Working as a part of a team, provider has to ensure the best outcome for the patient.
Although, the program is designed for public safety and healthcare professionals. Understanding the basic medical terminology regarding BLS is an addition to knowledge for anyone planning to start a career as an emergency service provider.
- Abdominal Thrusts: A first aid procedure to relieve airway obstructions in children and adults caused by foreign objects.
- ACLS: Advanced cardiac life support is preeminent resuscitation course for the recognition and intervention of cardiopulmonary arrest or other cardiovascular emergencies.
- Advanced airway: It encompasses various techniques to create a clear pathway by placing intubation tube is in place that leads directly to lungs.
- AED: Automated external defibrillator, is used to analyze the heart’s rhythm and if necessary, deliver an electrical shock, to help the heart re-establish an effective rhythm.
- Agonal breaths: Referred to an abnormal and shallow breathing which may sound like gasping. Usually occurs due to inadequate oxygen intake, it may happen for few breaths or could go on for hours.
- Back slaps/chest thrusts: Choking rescue for babies, this maneuver help relieve airway obstructions.
- BVM: Bag valve mask is a self-inflating bag attached to a non breathing valve and then to face mask that conforms to the face. This device is used by 2 or more rescuers to provide ventilation through the mouth and nose.
- Cardiac arrest: It is a sudden loss of blood flow resulting from the failure of the heart to pump effectively and may result in abnormal or absent breathing and in death.
- Chest recoil: Process of allowing chest wall to return to normal position after each compression.
- Compression rate: Rate or speed of compressions delivered over 1 minute.
- Cyanosis: Bluish discoloration, of the skin and membranes caused by the deoxygenation. It is divided in two main types – central which happens around the core, lips and tongue and peripheral, only the extremities or fingers.
- Defibrillation: Used in emergency medicine, this technique is applied to terminate ventricular fibrillation or pulseless tachycardia. An electrical shock is given to reset the electrical state of the heart.
- Esophagus: A muscular tube connecting the throat with the stomach.
- Gastric inflammation: Term used for stomach inflating due to delivering rescue breaths to forcefully and/or quickly.
- Head tilt/chin lift: Maneuver used to open the airway when no trauma is suspected.
- Intubation: The process of inserting an endotracheal tube through the mouth and then into the airway. It is done to assist patient with breathing during anesthesia, severe illness or sedation.
- Jaw thrust: Maneuver used to open airway when trauma is suspected. It is a first aid and medical procedure used to prevent tongue from obstructing the upper airways.
- Myocardial infarction: Commonly known as a heart attack, happens when blood flow decreases or stops to a part of the heart causing death of heart muscle.
- Perfusion: Process of delivery of oxygen and nutrients throughout the body via arteries.
- Post cardiac care: Care provided after resuscitation is complete.
- Respiratory arrest: It is a condition that exists at any point a person stops breathing or is ineffectively breathing. It may or may not occur at the same time as cardiac arrest.
- Trachea: Also known as the windpipe, that connects the larynx to lungs, allowing the passage of air.