What You Should Know About Pediatric Advanced Life Support


What You Should Know About Pediatric Advanced Life Support

One minute the group of children is screaming and laughing on the slides and the next minute, one of them has fallen and cut his head against the sharp edge of the play equipment. He needs help and it’s an emergency.

Sometimes things can change in such a short span of time, in the blink of an eye.  

When it comes to life support, we don’t always think of a hapless, innocent child being in distress. But pediatric issues are all too common and require precise and considerate care. From asthma to allergies, congenital birth defects to accidents at the playground and school, from choking difficulties and drowning possibilities, children might need support at any point of time.

Help is at hand with Pediatric Advanced Life Support. Because we are dealing with little children, it is even more important to be trained in the field and to have valid experience. The new PALS pretest and answers can assist professionals to gain an insight into the field. The test has no time limit and is in multiple choiceformat. It is an online test. Going through it can give clarity and all important insight into the treatment of a child.

Guidelines can prove to be advantageous

Life support starts with a basic understanding of what’s normal. This applies to respiration, heart rate and blood pressure. The age ranges from a preemie to a child under 12 years. Patients may present themselves as either unstable or stable. In some cases, if proper medical care is not received in about 10 minutes from the time the child has suffered an episode, it may, sadly, be too late.

Progressive shock leads to cardiac arrest. Studying the child’s pulse, heart rate, the amount of fluid in the organs etc., can give a better idea of the level of shock. A child’s heart may be beating too fast(tachycardia) or too slow (bradycardia), signifying different things. For instance, the latter shows advanced shock and the former the beginnings of a cardiac issue.

The standard procedure

The standard mode of operation is ABCD

  • Airway
  • Breathing
  • Circulation
  • Differential Diagnosis

Once a clear air passage is obtained, care must be taken to use shallow breaths. In some cases, the doctor might need to insert a device to create an airway.

After the device is placed, the rise and fall of the chest and the condensation during the breath exhalation must be closely monitored. There must be equal breath sounds from both lungs. This can also indicate that the device has been placed properly. Chest compressions must be given on a continuous basis (100-120 per minute).

For circulation, the blood pressure cuff and ECG will be of use. The child may also need IV. A portable X-ray machine will make sure that the child is stable.

Sometimes, the patient may need more than CPR. This is where differential diagnosis comes in. It considers the possibility of causes for an irregular heartbeat. Treatment can range from ventilation to an insulin drip and even surgery.

Pediatric Advanced Life Support is intricate hard work and needs to be done only by properly trained professionals.


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