There are literally thousands of healthcare providers throughout the world. Those who render care in the emergency room and those who render care in the dentist office. Unfortunately, many of these providers will at some point in time will need to perform ACLS & BCLS maneuvers in order to save someone’s life. The American Heart Association provides training to these clinicians in order to prepare them for the life threatening event.

Zoll AED

Those patients who stop breathing and go into cardiac arrest will need CPR immediately. Great ventilation with excellent rise and fall of the chest is paramount to say the least. Hopefully, there is an automated external defibrillator available to deliver electrical energy into the patient’s heart. The AED is an essential piece of equipment for the Mega Code resuscitation efforts to be successful.

Cardiac-Pulmonary Resuscitation (CPR) is the cornerstone of all Mega Codes. Without great CPR, the individual slowly leaves clinical stages of death and rapidly progresses to biological stages of death. When CPR and the AED combined, the chances of saving an individuals life is dramatically increased.

The American Heart Association provides training  such as Advanced Cardiac Life Support (ACLS) and Pediatric Advanced Life Support (PALS) to enable providers to be successful. A sub-set of skills and knowledge is required as well to resuscitate the cardiac arrest victim. Intubation and intraosseous infusion are just a couple which are highly desired skills.

As a nurse, you may be required to initiate CPR and ACLS care until the code team arrives and assumes responsibility for the mega code. The medical doctor is required to facilitate the choreography of the mega code sequence. He or she will be directing other healthcare professionals to implement and deliver emergency cardiac medications as well as electrical shock therapy.

Here’s an info-graphic that outlines the steps known as the Chain of Survival.

AHA Chain of Survival

Chain of Survival Link – AHA ACLS Certification Course

While each hospital, clinic and or healthcare facility will implement their on algorithms accordingly, they must adhere to and follow the core guidelines set forth by the American Heart Association. Areas such as the ICU will progress and run mega codes a bit different from how care is render on an Oncology Unit. Never the less, the common denominator is to save lives.

There are many resources available to help you achieve success for the ACLS Course and the PALS Course. The ACLS Science overview video is an excellent resource video which I will include in this lesson. The video teaches you the “Why” we do what we do as opposed to the “How” to run a mega code properly. Understanding the underlying reason and science as to why we perform such interventions allows us as healthcare providers to render high acuity care.

As you preview the video, you will see a great demonstration of a mega code. Not only will you see the mega code, you will gain valuable insight on specific roles each healthcare member provides. In addition, at the end of the mock pediatric cardiac arrest, the doctor will review the code and how well they performed. This may seem a bit elementary, however, it is of great value to review the entire scenario in order to build upon the experience as a whole.

Finally, there are many variables to consider when running a mega code. From the patient’s previous history to the area of medicine where the code occurred. The CVICU will run a code much different than the Paramedic in the pre-hospital setting. The most important thing to remember is to be committed to a life long endeavor of learning and growing your knowledge in the field of emergency medicine.