BLS (Basic Life Support)
Basic Life Support (BLS) is a level of medical care which is used for patients with non-life-threatening illnesses/injuries. It can be provided by trained medical personnel, including Emergency Medical Technicians (EMT's), Paramedics, and by citizens who have received BLS training. BLS is generally used in the pre-hospital setting and can be provided without medical equipment.
Many countries have guidelines on how to provide Basic Life Support (BLS) which are formulated by professional medical officials in those countries. The BLS guidelines outline algorithms for the management of a number of conditions, such as Cardiac arrest, choking and drowning. BLS does NOT include the use of drugs or invasive skills, and can be contrasted with the provision of Advanced Life Support (ALS). Most laypersons can master BLS skills after attending a short course. FireFighters and police officers/sheriff's are often required to be BLS certified. BLS is also immensely useful for many other professions, such as daycare providers, teachers, and Security Guards/Security personnel.
CPR provided in the field increases the time available for higher medical responders to arrive and provide ALS care. An important advance in providing BLS is the availability of the Automated External Defibrillator (AED). This improves survival outcomes in cardiac arrest cases.
BLS consists of a number of life-saving techniques focused on the "ABC's" of pre-hospital emergency care:
- Airway: the protection and maintenance of a clear passageway for gases (principally oxygen and carbon dioxide) to pass between the lungs and the atmosphere.
- Breathing: inflation and deflation of the lungs (respiration) via the airway
- Circulation: providing an adequate blood supply to tissue, especially critical organs, so as to deliver oxygen to all cells and remove metabolic waste, via the perfusion of blood throughout the body.
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