Basic life support (BLS) is the fundamental approach to saving lives following cardiac arrest.  Primary aspects of BLS include immediate recognition of sudden cardiac arrest and activation of the emergency response system, early cardiopulmonary resuscitation, and rapid defibrillation with an automated external defibrillator. Initial recognition and response to heart attack and stroke are also considered part of BLS.


Assess Victim & Get Help

Responsive Patient

  • Maintain patient in present position
  • Check condition
  • If alone, get help, or if available, send someone for help
  • Reassess regularly

Unresponsive Patient

  • Shout for help
  • Maintain patient in present position if able to assess
  • If unable to assess in present position, turn victim on to his back

If head or neck injury suspected, move the victim only if necessary

Assess Breathing & Circulation

  • Pulse & breathing should be checked simultaneously
  • Briefly check for breathing (abnormal breathing, gasping or absence of breathing)
    • Gasping is NOT normal & should be treated as if patient is not breathing
  • Pulse check is quickly performed
    • Rescuer should spend <10 sec in checking for pulse
    • If there is no definite pulse, start CPR
    • Use automated external defibrillator (AED) once available
    • If a definite pulse cannot be felt, rescuer should begin CPR
Digital Edition
Asia's trusted medical magazine for healthcare professionals. Get your MIMS Cardiology - Malaysia digital copy today!
Editor's Recommendations
Most Read Articles
18 Feb 2018
A recent study has identified readily accessible risk factors linked to the occurrence of stroke and merged these in an easy-to-use risk score. This score may be used to identify patients with myocardial infarction (MI) and heart failure (HF) and an elevated risk for stroke despite their not presenting with atrial fibrillation (AF).
06 Mar 2018
Serum sodium levels appear to be associated with adverse events following acute coronary syndrome (ACS), indicating that hyponatraemia is a significant predictor of both short- and long-term adverse events, a recent study has shown.
21 Dec 2017
Physicians’ practice patterns in managing hypertension, and their awareness of blood pressure variability, were reported in a recent study in Singapore. We discussed some of the clinical practice gaps identified by this study with author, A/Prof. Teo Boon Wee.
01 Mar 2018
In patients who receive percutaneous coronary intervention (PCI), low haemoglobin levels at baseline appear to be a strong predictor of poor outcomes such as complications and mortality, a recent Japan study has shown.