EMS Educators

The National Association of EMS Educators is the best Instructor program that I have ever attended. Dr. Chris Nollette is a great leader and the President of NAEMSE.

Star of Life

The Star of Life has been an EMS symbol for years. Paramedics and Emergency Medical Technicians have identified with the blue star as part of their heritage.

American Heart Association

The American Heart Association has been an advocate promoting healthy hearts for over 50 years. Their efforts to prevent heart disease and educate the general public has saved millions of lives.

Archive for ACLS certification


Patient Assessment of the Trauma Victim

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In emergency medical situations a patient assessment is one of the most important steps emergency personnel utilizes at the scene. This assessment will assist the Advanced Cardiac Life Support emergency workers in answering all of the vital questions. Who, what, how, and address all life threatening situations not only with the patient but in the surrounding area as well. Who the patient is; is the patient a pediatric or an adult? This makes a big difference in your approach to treatment. What happened; what is the emergency and how did it happen or the mechanism of injury.

Knowing where the injury is and how it happened will also weigh in on the mode of transportation as in by air or ambulance, is it going to be a rapid transport situation. If it is going to be a rapid transport situation then all of the life threatening wounds should be addressed and the rest can be done on the way to the receiving facility. Knowing the what and how will also be able to help you decide the type of receiving facility to transport to. Some facilities offer higher levels of care than others depending on severity of injury.

The patient assessment always begins with a scene size up. You should always make sure the scene is safe. Look for downed power lines, irate individuals with weapons, gas leaks, etc… Once the scene is safe and you are allowed to enter you will want to then make sure you observe body substance isolation or (BSI). Before you enter a scene it is a good idea to have BSI. You want as much protection as you can get from the fluids and other substances from the patient and your scene. Once you have observed BSI you will want to find out the number of patients. Knowing this will help you to find out if you are going to need to triage patients as well as know if you are going to need additional resources which is the next step in the patient assessment.

Once you have determined whether or not you will need additional resources and they are contacted if needed, you will then need to determine the mechanism of injury. Knowing the mechanism of injury will assist you in determining the level of care the patient will need and almost always in conjunction with all of the other steps it will help you to make a transport decision. Finally you will need to have a partner hold c-spine. Especially if they have suffered a fall, motor vehicle collision, or any injury involving the neck, head, or spine. This is also where knowing the mechanism of injury comes in.

Knowing how to perform a patient assessment is a vital part of the emergency care process. This will be a part of your skills and knowledge required in your training in the Emergency medical field, especially that of an Emergency medical technician. This will also help anyone who is in any field in which responds to medical emergency calls such as first responders and volunteer firefighters as well as paid firefighters.


Heart Disease

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Heart Disease is one of the leading causes of death in both men and women in the U.S.  That’s why it is important to learn about your heart and symptoms and be checked by your physician if you experience any irregularities with your heart.  Heart Disease can be inherited and or enhanced by the life-style choices. The American Heart Association ACLS recert class can help prevent sudden cardiac death. Some examples of causes of Heart Disease are cigarette smoking, high blood pressure, diabetes, obesity, lack of exercise, and inherited which  would be based on the family history.

Not everyone gets Heart Disease some are born with it and that is known as Congenital Heart Disease.  Congenital Heart Disease is a type of defect or malformation in one or more structures of the heart or blood vessels that occur before birth.  Congenital Heart disease my present itself at birth and sometimes not until adulthood. It is not known why it occurs as a fetus but has been said that exposure to some viral infections and alcohol could play a role.

Some symptoms of heart disease are irregularities in the heart such as abnormal rhythms or arrhythmia’s, shortness of breath, which can lead to a heart attack.  Other symptoms of the disease are weakness, dizziness, sweating, and a faster heartbeat. Although many heart problems can have the same symptoms it is important to be checked by a doctor if the symptoms keep occurring.

Symptoms of heart attack can be but are not limited to feeling numbness  or arm, pressure or heaviness in the chest, extreme weakness, vomiting.
During a heart attack you may or may not have any symptoms at all , which is more common with diabetics.  If you do have symptoms they may last up to 30 minutes and can not be calmed by oral medication.  Tightness in the chest can turn into severe pain and then you should immediately be seen by a hospital.

There are many treatments and care for someone with heart disease.  You should learn CPR for you and your loved one in case of an attack. There are medications, stents and even surgical procedures, which should be discussed with your physician.

Even though there is no cure for the disease living with the disease is possible and manageable with direction from your doctor. You can also try to live a healthier way of life.  This would include no smoking, plenty of safe exercise and a heart healthy diet.




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Angioplasty procedure in which and balloon catheter is passed into the narrowed portion of the blood vessel and then inflated in order to widen the narrowed or obstructed blood vessel. Typically angioplasties are safer than bypass surgery. Results from death from this type or procedure are far less than the bypass surgery is. Hypertension, diabetes, and smoking are just a few of the blockages that can occur in which angioplasty is used to remove. The balloon that is used during the surgery is not the same material as that of a toy balloon. The procedure can take anywhere from 30 min. to three hours in order to complete. The catheter used during the procedure is inserted into a blood vessel in the groin or above the elbow and is carefully guided by the doctor through the blood vessels until it reaches the blog portion of the coronary artery, it is then inflated.

Complications may occur during or after angioplasty; some of these include tearing of the artery, kidney problems, arrhythmia, allergic reaction, and blood clots. There are of course as with any surgeries risks with angioplasty. Some of these complications include myocardial infarction, kidney problems, and death. Risks are much higher for those 75 years or older, patients suffering from diabetes or kidney disease, as with patients with poor pumping function in their hearts.

As long there are no complications most of the patients are only monitored overnight and released the next day. Patients are advised to avoid any physical and/or mental stress after the surgery is complete. If you have swelling and bleeding or pain from the surgery site develops any other kind discomfort shortness of breath the patient should seek immediate medical attention. Some of the different types of angioplasty include peripheral, coronary, renal artery, and carotid.

Peripheral angioplasty is the opening of blood vessels outside the coronary arteries utilizing a balloon. Commonly used to treat atherosclerotic, narrowing of the abdomen. Coronary angioplasty is used to treat narrowed coronary arteries of the heart commonly found in coronary heart disease. Renal artery angioplasty is used to treat atherosclerotic obstruction of the renal artery; carotid angioplasty is used to treat carotid artery stenosis.

The risk of death during and or after angioplasty with today’s modern technology is less than 1% providing all the guidelines for post-surgery care are followed. The procedure usually requires 23 hours or less of hospitalization after it is complete. According to statistics it is a relatively safe procedure.

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An EKG also known as an electrocardiogram or ECG is a test that measures problems in electrical activity within the heart. An EKG shows the heart’s electrical activity on a piece of paper in the form of lines. The spikes and dips are also known as waves.

Electrocardiograms are usually implemented to find the cause of chest pain, check the progress of mechanical devices such as pacemakers; check out medication is affecting your heart, and overall health of the heart and to detect if any heart diseases are present. Different types of EKG’s that physicians implement are holter monitoring, event recorder, and stress test.

Some examples in instances when you may have an electrocardiogram test are; during physical examinations, stress test, before a major surgery, and before any surgeries involving the heart, (as well as  Pre, during, or post-surgery). more often than not, there are no risks during an electrocardiogram. Electricity is not run through your body from the machine. So in most cases an electrocardiogram is perfectly safe. The test usually also takes no more than 10 to 15 minutes until completion. Some of the health issues the test will show your doctor are heart rate, heart rhythm, heart attack, inadequate blood and oxygen level to the heart and structural abnormalities to name a few.

It is believed by some doctors that everyone ever 35 should have a baseline EKG done to have something to compare to you as you get older. An EKG cannot predict whether or not you’re going to have a heart attack. In some cases an electrocardiogram may need to be read several days later when comparing to a previous electrocardiogram due to the fact your test can appear to be normal during heart attack. No special preparation is needed before having an electrocardiogram test.

Drinking cold water and physical exertion can cause misleading changes in the electrical patterns during the test. The test can be performed in a hospital or in a doctor’s office. You will usually have anywhere from 12-15 leads or electrodes connected to your body in specific locations, you will be asked to lie still and breath normally as the machine measures your electrical activity. Usually right after the test, your doctor will be able to tell you the results.

In conclusion, echocardiograms are very much more useful in interpreting heart rhythms. They are not meant to prevent nor are they meant to treat any type of heart conditions and or diseases. In some cases that is determined through healthy living and genetics.



Advanced Life Support

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ACLS was developed by the American Heart Association in the early 1970s. The acronym ACLS stands for advanced cardiac life support. The program or certification course teaches health care providers how to deliver cardiac medications as well as advanced airway procedures. The course assumes that you have basic knowledge of anatomy and physiology. In addition, you should know how to interpret EKG’s as well. You will be required to run a mega-code successfully to demonstrate your knowledge in advanced life-support procedures. A 25 question written exam is give to test your knowledge regarding the advanced cardiac life support curriculum.

There is an algorithm known as ventricular fibrillation and ventricular tachycardia. This particular cardiac dysrhythmia can best be treated by early defibrillation. Depending on how long the patient has been in cardiac arrest you may need to administer CPR for least two minutes prior to providing any defibrillation to the myocardium. ?Treatment must be initiated within 2 or 3 minutes in order for you to be successful.


Automated External Defibrillator

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The automated external disturber later has been around for approximately 15 years. The AED is very instrumental in playing a part in saving a person’s life who is found to be in Ventricular Fibrillation. The American Red Cross has been using the automated external defibrillator for nearly 28 years. No one knows how effective the advanced cardiac life support algorithm has been unless they read the Journal of emergency medical magazine. Although, they use many cardiac medications the one common denominator is the use of electrical current passed through the heart. The only way that we can deliver electrical current through the heart muscle is by using the AED which was developed by physio- control many years ago. Today we can find these machines or devices throughout our airports, high schools, court houses, or any place where there is the potential for a large gathering. To better understand the use of the automated external defibrillator, please visit the American Heart Association or the American Red Cross.

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ACLS Protocols

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We have updated our ACLS protocols here at the Grady Memorial Hospital. That means that all cardiac arrest and codes will be governed by the American Heart Association guidelines. Should you want to attend our course feel free to come on by and get some ACLS protocol training. We are dedicated to seeing our junior and our senior medical staff adequately trained.

The ACLS algorithms are designed to be more user friendly and geared toward success. The AHA has placed a great deal of emphasis on CPR and that your CPR be effective. Push hard and push fast will help increase Cerebral Perfusion and as a result the patient will have a better chance of survival. Be cognitive of the new ACLS standards and how they will effect the way you run your cardiac arrest codes.

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