Online ACLS Course

Chapter 3 : BLS and ACLS – Quick Overview

Course II: BLS and ACLS – Quick Overview

Cardiopulmonary arrest or cardiac arrest occurs when the heart stops beating and blood circulation is terminated due to abnormalities of the heart.  There are two approaches of resuscitation of a person in cardiac arrest; BLS and if needed the ACLS approach.


Basic life support is the initial response to a cardiac arrest and focuses on CPR and defibrillation. Advanced IV administration of drugs or advanced airway is not needed in BLS survey.
BLS has these components: Chest compressions (C), Airway (A), Breathing (B) and Defibrillation (D).  The goal of BLS is to reinstate circulation, oxygenation and ventilation by focusing on CPR and defibrillation until the return of spontaneous circulation (ROSC).  Before starting CPR, first always check if the scene is safe.

Video Demonstration

BLS and ACLS – Quick Overview

BLS Survey

1Check for response
  • Tap and ask, “Are you all right?”
  • Look for breathing by checking for movement of chest (5 to 10 seconds)
2Activate the emergency response system and get AED
  • Activate the emergency response system (Call 911) and ask someone to get the AED if help is available
  • Check carotid pulse (maximum of 10 seconds)
  • If no pulse start CPR with 30 chest compressions and 2 breaths
  • 100 compressions per minute
  • Depth of 2 inches
  • If there is a pulse, start rescue breathing at 1 breath every 5 to 6 seconds
  • Check for shockable rhythm  with AED
  • Hook up the pads to the patients bare chest
  • Give shock when needed – follow instructions on the AED
  • After shock start CPR again beginning with chest compressions

The following is the Basic Life Support Algorithm: