Als Changes

The guidelines for Adult Advanced Life Support are constantly developing and being updated.

Briefly outline the major changes within the last 20 years that relate to the out of hospital management of patients, and review and discuss the literature which has led to these changes.

A cardiac arrest is a medical emergency, and ‘It is estimated that there are around 60,000 out-of-hospital cardiac arrests in the UK each year’ Ambulance Service Association (2006), with a survival rate of just ‘2-12%, depending on where the arrest takes place’ Perkins & Cooke (2012). A cardiac arrest is ‘is the cessation of functional circulation of the blood due to failure of the heart to contract effectively’ Jameson et al (2005), which results in no breathing and no pulse. The British Heart Foundation statess ‘the most common cause of a cardiac arrest is a life threatening abnormal heart rhythm called ventricular fibrillation (VF)’.

In this essay I aim to put forward the changes to guidelines, and developments in the way pre-hospital Advanced Life Support (ALS) in adults is provided, and what literature has determined these changes to occur. There are many changes to the guidelines and updates, as ‘it was recognized that because of the changing nature and incomplete knowledge in the field of cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR), that regular review and re-assessment would be required’ Robertson (1997). Over the past 20 years, out of hospital advanced life support has changed dramatically, with reviews between UK and European Resuscitation Councils leading to updated guidelines due to new research and understanding of Cardiac Arrests, and studies showing how these new guidelines can decrease mortality in pre hospital cardiac arrest.

Since 1992, when the first advanced life support guidelines were published by the European Resuscitation Council (ERC) there have been progressive adaptations and changes in the way out of hospital health care workers approach cardiac arrests....