Whilst basic life support relies on the individual skills of the by-stander to maintain temporarily cerebral oxygenation following cardio-respiratory arrest, advanced cardiac life support aims to restore the patient's own spontaneous oxygen delivery system. It involves more specialised methods of airway management, oxygenation and circulatory support which enhance oxygenation of the vital organs until defibrillation and pharmacological therapy can restore normal cardio-respiratory function. Recent advances in the design of equipment and the understanding of resuscitation pathophysiology have lead to improved methods of managing the patient following cardiac arrest. This article summarises these current perspectives.
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