The Broad Definition of Life Support

If you ask the average person on the street to describe “life support,” they will generally speak of scenes from medical dramas with one of the characters hooked up to a bunch of steadily beeping machines. This is only one aspect of life support. Life support is actually a broad range of medical practices that encompasses everything from cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR), to dialysis, to heart or lung bypass surgery. In cases of an emergency, life support begins before the patient even arrives at the hospital.


Emergency medical personnel undergo advanced cardiac life support training and pediatric advanced life support training in order to be able to conduct life support on the way to a medical facility. This training enables them to make fast, appropriate decisions about which equipment and practices will prove most effective with regards to saving a patient’s life. While it is common to think of life support as something that happens in the hospital, the most important part of it is what happens between the scene of the accident and the patient’s arrival in the emergency room.

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About the author

I spent 15 years as a firefighter and paramedic...

And too often I would arrive on the scene of someone unconscious, surrounded by a circle of people feeling helpless. Sometimes those people would even have CPR training but lacked the confidence and experience to act.

That’s why I started SureFire CPR. Our classes are practical and engaging – teaching you the crucial skills you need to know what to do and feel empowered to take action.

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Zack Zarrilli, Founder

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