In case of an emergency

BLS (Basic Life Support) is the basic aid provided to an individual who suddenly loses consciousness and suddenly stops breathing. This is done while waiting for the ambulance or while waiting for medical and professional help. This is not only advantageous for you but it is also advantageous for your family as well. This will make you prepared for any life threatening situation like :

•             The individual is unconscious

•             There is no presence of breathing

•             Abnormal pulse rate (thready or fast pulse)

•             It can help people who are choking, drowning or are suffering from cardiac arrest, and it can make the difference between life and death for some people

Objectives of Basic Life Support (BLS) :

A (Airway ) : means to establish and maintain an open airway

B (Breathing) : means to restore breathing

C (Circulation) : means to establish and maintain the circulation of blood throughout the body especially the brain and other vital organs

At a very basic level, BSL involves securing the proper circulation, airways and breathing of the patient to keep them alive until an ambulance or other medical professional can arrive on the scene. This is achieved by following a technique called CPR (Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation ) a well-known emergency technique that’s used to help someone who has suffered a cardiac arrest, a life-threatening condition is when the heart suddenly stops beating. Unfortunately, cardiac arrest can cause brain damage or even death within minutes if a person doesn’t receive immediate help. So if you see someone collapse on the ground and they’re unresponsive and they don’t have a pulse, you should absolutely start CPR because that may save someone’s life.

In CPR, an open airway is achieved by removing the object that impedes with the victim’s breathing. If there is no object that is blocking the airway, this might involve a heart condition so chest compressions are required. This is applying pressure on to the victim’s chest (with proper positioning of the hands on the correct location) to maintain the normal transport of oxygen to the brain and vital organs. Oxygen deprivation is fatal especially when 6 minutes or more has passed since irreversible brain damage has occurred already and the chances of survival slim down.

Certain specific figures are required to keep in mind in basic life support. 100 compressions on the chest are required and the depth of compression for an adult victim is 1 ½ to 2 inches. For an adult victim, 20 rescue breaths are given in one minute. As per new CPR guidelines set by the American Heart Association, the chest compressions are the first intervention that is given during cardiac arrest. Thus The CPR sequence has now changed to C-A-B instead of A-B-C.

BLS Protocols Continue Until :

1.            The patient regains a pulse

2.            The rescuer is relieved by another rescuer of equivalent or higher training

3.            The rescuer is physically too tired to continue CPR, or

4.            The patient is pronounced dead by a medical doctor

Why Is BLS Training Essential ?

Some procedures in CPR like chest compressions require training. Doing this properly will successfully restore normal heart beat and rate but if not, this will result to further harm and injury such as a fracture on the ribs etc. Providing rescue breaths might look simple but it needs proper technique. This procedure should not be taken for granted since the bag-valve mask procedure places the victim for at risk of gastric aspiration and worse, may result in aspiration pneumonia which will eventually result to death. This is why proper training is required for a person planning to be a Basic Life Support provider. A training that is hands on is much better that online training. Since hands on training prepares you for the real emergencies and it allows you to familiarize with the emergency equipment to be used in the emergency setting.

Who Needs BLS Training ?

While it is mandatory for every medical professional to obtain certification, BLS training is beneficial to everyone. Depending on your location and local regulations, medical providers including doctors, nurses, and first responders such as firefighters and police officers, are typically required to obtain BLS certification. Other professionals such as child-care providers, nannies, school bus drivers, teachers, social workers, security guards and those working with the elderly would also benefit from becoming BLS certified.

Valid BLS certifications must remain current. By most guidelines, certification expires after two years. Once this happens, trainees will need to complete a recertification class. Both certification and recertification BLS training programs can be custom tailored to meet specific criteria for workplace environments.

Dr. RAIES AHMAD IS HOD at KTC Hospital & Research Centre, Kashmir