The American College of Surgeons (ACS) was founded to improve the care of surgical patients, and it has long been a leader in establishing and maintaining the high quality of surgical practice in North America. In accordance with that role, the ACS Committee on Trauma (COT) has worked to establish guidelines for the care of injured patients. Accordingly, the COT sponsors and contributes to continued development of the Advanced Trauma Life Support (ATLS) program. The ATLS Student Course does not present new concepts in the field of trauma care; rather, it teaches established treatment methods. A systematic, concise approach to the early care of trauma patients is the hallmark of the ATLS Program. This Tenth Edition was developed for the ACS by members of the ATLS Committee and the ACS COT, other individual Fellows of the College, members of the international ATLS community, and nonsurgical consultants to the Committee who were selected for their special competence in trauma care and their expertise in medical education.
(The Preface and Acknowledgments sections of this book contain the names and affiliations of these individuals.) The COT believes that the people who are responsible for caring for injured patients will find the information extremely valuable. The principles of patient care presented in this manual may also be beneficial to people engaged in the care of patients with nontrauma-related diseases. Injured patients present a wide range of complex problems. The ATLS Student Course is a concise approach to assessing and managing multiply injured patients. The course supplies providers with comprehensive knowledge and techniques that are easily adapted to fit their needs. Students using this manual will learn one safe way to perform each technique. The ACS recognizes that there are other acceptable approaches. However, the knowledge and skills taught in the course are easily adapted to all venues for the care of these patients. The ATLS Program is revised by the ATLS Committee approximately every four years to respond to changes in available knowledge and incorporate newer and perhaps even safer skills. ATLS Committees in other countries and regions where the program has been introduced have participated in the revision process, and the ATLS Committee appreciates their outstanding contributions.