A very common question an instructor will get is about the basic difference between Heartsaver CPR (American Heart association) better known as just CPR and Basic Life Support (BLS). The answer is very simple but to some it can be a challenge to explain this and also to dive into this question even deeper what is CPR.
To understand this question fully one must first completely understand what the differences are and what CPR actually is. CPR stands for cardiopulmonary resuscitation as per many medical dictionaries. CPR is the act of compressing a person chest in order to circulate blood from the heart to the brain and back to the heart again to oxygenate the brain and also in return oxygenate heart itself. Prior to this skill set being developed, a person very rarely survived cardiac arrest. This technique has evolved over the years and it’s changed a few times but the basic concepts are all the same, that is to circulate blood.
Now let’s talk about the terminology from different certification organizations. There is the American Heart Association (AHA), the American Red Cross (ARC) and National Safety Council (NSC) to just name a few. They all title their courses differently but the basic concepts of CPR are established by the American Heart Association as they do the research in the case studies here in the United States. It is these basic concepts that all of these courses are based on. Thus, for the rest of the article let’s stick to what my training company, Life Saving Education offers here in New England and that is American Heart Association. There are few major differences between Heartsaver CPR and a Basic Life Support (BLS). Basic life support or as it use to be known as Healthcare provider is just that meant for anybody who through the course of work can be described as a healthcare provider for example doctors, nurses, respiratory therapists, dentists, paramedics, EMTs and firefighters. With this higher level of training there is expectation of professionalism which then changes the standard slightly with a more scientific-based approach. The changes include a pulse check and a change in the compression ratio for children and infants when there are two rescuers present. Also with the basic life support (BLS) certification there is the requirement of a written exam in which a student must pass with a score of 84% or more. With Heartsaver there is no change in compression ratio and no pulse check due to possibility of a lay-rescuer not providing CPR when it is truly needed. Also there is no written exam. These are the major differences between the two.
The differences between Heartsaver CPR (American Heart association) better known as just CPR and Basic Life Support (BLS) are a few but with the simple understanding of the standards, mastering the terminology isn’t hard at all. As a simple rule thumb if the person throughout their day is providing any type of patient care then they are required to have the BLS certification.