PALS Primary And Secondary Surveys: What Are They?

CPR Training

PALS Primary And Secondary Surveys: What Are They?

If you’re regularly working with kids, then a PALS certification can give you the skills you
need to save lives. Kids can experience problems like sudden cardiac arrest, and when this
happens, you need to be prepared. It’s not just about cardiac arrest when working with
children. There are also allergic reactions, side-effects of medications, suddenly, they have
problems breathing – when you know what to do in every case, it’s much easier to help the
patient. There are two main assessments or surveys that are conducted with the PALS
certification: primary and secondary. Let’s consider what they are and how each works.
What Is A PALS Primary Survey

When a pediatric patient has a serious reaction or enters a condition such as cardiac arrest,
the process starts with the PALS primary assessment or survey. This assessment is usually
broken down into multiple categories, which many experts refer to as A, B, C, D, and E.
Here’s a quick overview of what each letter means:

A. Airway
B. Breathing
C. Circulation
D. Disability
E. Exposure

A primary goal of this particular survey is to determine if the child is breathing, whether there
is a problem with the heartbeat, and to determine specific threats that are at play. These
threats may come in the form of difficulty breathing, closed airways, or an arrhythmia that’s
causing problems with their heartbeat.

When a threat is identified, then it’s time to move on to finding a way to treat it and address
the problem.

It’s part of a three-step process that experts and those with a PALS certification use, which
includes evaluating, identifying, and intervening. Evaluation includes assessing the pediatric
patient. Are they breathing? Do they have a heartbeat? These are things that should be

Then, the immediate threat should be identified. Why are they not breathing? Why did their
heart stop? In cases where the child is still conscious and able to speak, they can be asked
about their symptoms. This can help responders get to the root of the threat that’s causing
the emergency situation.

Finally, intervention. This is when the threat is identified, and now the respondents need to
implement the right strategies to target it. One of the main goals at this stage is to get the
child out of the immediate danger zone.

It’s also a survey that can be repeated. Once the respondents on the scene go through the
primary assessment and continue to the secondary, they may come back to the first one.
This means the entire process will be repeated up to the point where they are confident that
the child is in good hands and has been stabilized.