Initiating the Chain of Survival

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The AHA has updated the Basic Life Support (BLS) course over the years as new research in cardiac care has become available. Cardiac arrest continues to be a leading cause of death in the United States. BLS guidelines have changed dramatically, and the elements of BLS continue to be some of the most important steps in initial treatment. General concepts of BLS include:

  • Quickly starting the Chain of Survival.
  • Delivering high-quality chest compressions for adults, children, and infants.
  • Knowing where to locate and understanding how to use an Automatic External Defibrillator (AED)
  • Providing rescue breathing when appropriate.
  • Understanding how to perform as a team.
  • Knowing how to treat choking.

Initiating the Chain of Survival

Early initiation of BLS has been shown to increase the probability of survival for a victim of cardiac arrest. To increase the odds of surviving a cardiac event, the rescuer should follow the steps in the Adult Chain of Survival Figure 1.

Adult Chain of Survival

BLS Adult Chain of Survival

Figure 1

Emergencies in children and infants are not usually caused by the heart. Children and infants most often have breathing problems that trigger cardiac arrest. The first and most important step of the Pediatric Chain of Survival (Figure 2) is prevention.

Pediatric Chain of Survival

BLS Pediatric Chain of Survival

Figure 2

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