Algorithms for Pediatric Advanced Life Support 2021

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 Pediatric Advanced Life Support Training is an understanding of the PALS algorithms. This page is a free resource to the public to demonstrate these AHA algorithms. See our website terms. Compatible part number: 90-1055, 90-1053, 90-1056.

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Cardiac Arrest
Cardiac arrest

The cornerstone of a successful resuscitation is delivering quality compressions for the highest percentage of time possible during the resuscitation (at least 60%). Throughout the following algorithm compressions are continuous except where noted otherwise, such as during defibrillation.

PALS Bradycardia
Bradycardia

Bradycardia is almost always symptomatic in infants and pediatrics. Many times it can represent a life threatening illness or injury. This algorithm guides us in the recognition of symptomatic bradycardia and provides us with the steps required for its initial treatment.

PALS Bradycardia
Tachycardia

The diagnosis of tachycardia can be a challenging one. In the infant or child with symptoms it is of the utmost importance. This algorithm provides guidance in differentiating the type of tachycardia (wide vs narrow complex) and provides for the initial treatment of the infant or child that is exhibiting serious signs and symptoms.

PALS Bradycardia
Respiratory emergencies

These are the most frequent life threatening emergencies in infants and children. This algorithm categorizes them into four categories, upper, lower, lung tissue disease and disordered work of breathing. The algorithm then provides us with the recommended treatment modalities for each type of respiratory emergency.

Primary assessment algorithm

The primary assessment in pediatric patients is key. The focus is on identifying and stopping life threatening issues before they deteriorate. This algorithm provides a step by step analysis of the pediatric patient that ensures that serious signs and symptoms do not go unnoticed.

First Step
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