Algorithms for Basic Life Support 2020

Last updated: December 20, 2020

Version control: Our ACLS, PALS & BLS courses follow 2020 American Heart Association® Guidelines for CPR and ECC. American Heart Association® guidelines are updated every five years. If you are reading this page after December 2025, please contact support@acls.net for an update. Version 2021.01.c

A critical part of Basic Life Support training is understanding and properly adhering to the BLS algorithms. These present the basic course of action that a rescuer should perform for life support. We provide this information for free to our visitors and each page is a separate algorithm which is linked below. Our BLS course is a handy, 100% online and accredited resource for more information and getting certified. See all courses. See our website terms.

BLS simplified algorithm

For laypersons or other non-HCP personnel, this algorithm is a simplified approach to cardiopulmonary resuscitation and life support. For more information about Basic Life Support or getting certified, check out our 100% online and accredited BLS certification. Our courses are accepted in North America and internationally.

BLS pediatric algorithm

In Pediatric Basic Life Support for Healthcare Providers (HCP), the rescuer should first determine quickly if the victim is unresponsive. The provider should note if the victim is not breathing or is only gasping. There science surrounding this pediatric algorithm are based on the fact that children are much more likely than adults to enter respiratory arrest. For further information and getting certified, check our PALS course.

BLS CPR algorithm

This illustrates the components of high quality cardiopulmonary resuscitation that should be learned by EVERYONE. CPR is a science and requires properly performing the actions as instructed.

Cardiac Arrest Algorithm
BLS adult basic life support algorithm

In the algorithm for adult basic life support, emphasis is placed upon immediate recognition of sudden cardiac arrest and rapid defibrillation with an AED (Automated External Defibrillator).

Cardiac Arrest
ACLS algorithms

We present the algorithms for ACLS on a separate page which includes general algorithms as recommended by the American Heart Association® as well as other specific algorithms published for anesthetists. Check our ACLS course for more information or getting certified.

First Step
Videos and quizzes

Our video page shows all our BLS videos and also includes advanced ACLS level videos. We welcome you to visit, all videos are free to the public.

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Bag valve ventilation

Performing bag valve ventilation with one or two rescuers.

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CPR compression

Demonstrates how to perform good chest compressions and tips to make it easy to remember.

BLS CAB algorithm

The rate of compression was updated for 2016 guidelines.
This algorithm includes information regarding compressions, opening the airway, and providing rescue breathing.

This page is written by on May 2, 2017.