According to statistics, CPR or basic life support can save as many as 300,000 lives every year. In most of these cases, passersby’s with basic life support training were able to help critically injured patients by ensuring breathing and circulation. This alone was responsible for saving the lives of the injured. The statistics for cardiac arrests are scarier. According the American Heart Association, the absence of CPR can literally reduce the victim’s chances of survival by as much as 7-10%. In fact, every year more than 294,851 cardiac arrests happen outside the hospital. Most of these problems occur at home and this only emphasizes the need for emergency basic life support and advanced cardiac care. As a result, most countries encourage civilians and medical personnel to take up emergency medical training or CPR or even BLS certificate courses to deal with emergencies. If you are interested in taking up BLS, ACLS or even PALS emergency care courses, we’ve listed a few details you should know.

The basic life support course

Basic life support is a voluntary course that is offered to lay people and to medical professionals. The course emphasizes the process of maintaining respiration, circulation and a patent airway. The course is offered through a classroom or through an online website. The classroom course may extend from 5 -8 hours. The online class is usually for two hours. Lay people and medical personnel can take the course through the classroom or the online option. However, after completing the theory class, they can choose to take a skills section as well. The skills section is a practical class where students are taught on a dummy. After completing the course, the students can sit for a written and / or practical exam. Passing candidates are given a temporary card immediately after the exam. The certificate is mailed to you in about 2 weeks. Please note that the course may cost anywhere from $50 to about $200. This cost includes textbooks and training fees. If you don’t have time to attend the course, you can complete the course and acquire the BLS certification online through the website.

The advanced cardiac care course

The advanced cardiac life support course is geared towards cardiac care and it offers medical training for medical professionals. The course will teach physicians and paramedical personnel how to assess cardiac conditions and provide emergency medical care through cardiac drugs and emergency cardiac equipment like defibrillators. The course is completed through a classroom format and it extends for two days with a practical and a theory class.

After completing the course, the student has to write a theory exam made up of multiple-choice questions and sit for a practical exam as well. A minimum score of 84% is required for passing and the student is provided with a temporary card immediately after completing the exam. The certificate is provided in about a week. The ACLS course is usually done through a classroom format but online ACLS courses are also offered by a few websites. However, you should know that the online and classroom course is only valid for two years. After two years, you will have to an ACLS online renewal course for ACLS recertification online. The recertification course is the same as the original course but it will include latest treatment modules, drugs and treatment protocols.

The ACLS renewal process is quick and ACLS certification online may be completed in 14 — 18 hours.

The specialized pediatric life support course

PALS certification online course teach students have to deal with pediatric medical emergencies. This certificate is considered to be vitally important for medical or paramedical personnel who deal with children and infants on a day-to-day basis.  The course is completed through a classroom format and there is a certification exam after the course. After completing the course, the certificate is mailed to the student but it is valid only for two years.

A few points to note:

1. The BLS course is very simple and almost anyone can do it. However, the advanced courses require medical expertise and only medical and paramedical personnel are eligible for them.

2. The advanced courses have a pretest that will assess the student’s clinical experience and medical knowledge. The pretest is mandatory for the advanced courses.

3. The course fees usually cover the cost of course textbooks approved by the AMA and the AHA.

4. Although the AHA has produced the courses, it is not responsible for the quality of education provided by the teaching organizations. You should evaluate the courses for their expertise and instructors before signing on.

5. It is advisable to find advanced courses through the American Heart Association through the website database.

The AMA and the AHA update the courses regularly and please ensure that you follow the latest course guidelines.