Pediatric Advanced Life Support

Pediatric Advanced Life Support training is a specialty advanced course on pediatric CPR. At Mississauga First Aid, it is one of most popular courses with a lot of students applying to it throughout the year. However, our PALS program is targeted towards students who are health care professionals – people whose job description allows direct patient management during cardiorespiratory emergencies.

About the PALS Program

Advanced pediatric CPR training at Mississauga First Aid runs for a total of 14 hours over two days. Students are required to have previously taken Basic Life Support for Health Care Providers (BLS for HCPs) training and have a valid certificate for it. This is also a requirement for Advanced Cardiac Life Support (ACLS) training.

There are two further requirements before you receive  your credential. You have to (1) attend all the lessons (complete attendance) and get passing grades on the (2) written and the (3) practical tests. Credentials are only valid for 36 months, after which the student has to take a PALS refresher program and another set of tests. The new certificate will be valid for another 36 months.

The PALS program teaches students advanced CPR in a medical setting. The curriculum involves the use of equipment and medication during cardiac and respiratory emergencies. Pharmacology is an important topic, focusing the cardiac and respiratory medication found in a “crash cart”, a set of drawers that can be wheeled in and out of a patient’s room or ward. The program also introduces students to manual defibrillators and ventilators, among other machines used during a code and post-cardiac arrest care.

Pediatric Cardiac Arrest

Compressions, ventilations, and defibrillation are used when a child has gone into cardiac arrest or is experiencing severe arrythmias. Cardiac arrest is very different for children, usually caused by a respiratory problem such as respiratory failure, instead of a pre-existing cardiac problem. This is why the term asphyxial arrest was coined to refer to cardiac arrest in children.

Congenital Heart Problems

Despite conditions such as Coronary Artery Disease (CAD) are rarely found in children, their most common pre-existing conditions are typically congenital. The term congenital means a condition present since birth. This can be deformities of the heart and/or the blood vessels. Congenital Heart Disease (CHD) affects nearly 1 percent (40,000) births in a year in the US. A condition called Ventricular Septal Defect (a deformity of a wall in the heart) is the most common kind of CHD, with affected children needing surgery within the first year of life.

When there are deformities or immaturities found in and around the heart, it can place great stress on the organ and on the lungs. The heart can either pump slower or faster, which leads to poor circulation of blood in the body, cardiac damage, and cardiac arrest. When the heart works too hard, it can grow in size, a condition called cardiomyopathy which further causes low cardiac output and eventual cardiac arrest.

Do you need PALS training? Sign up for the PALS class at Mississauga First Aid today and get a training credential before the week is over!

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