Perfusionists monitor blood circulation during surgery and keep the surgical team informed of the patient’s condition. Perfusionists must have a thorough knowledge of heart-lung equipment and be able to make adjustments should abnormal conditions arise.
Perfusionists are trained to operate special equipment that temporarily takes over a patient’s respiratory (breathing) and/or circulatory (blood movement) functions. This ensures that oxygen reaches the patient’s body through the blood, even when the patient’s lungs and heart are temporarily not functioning.
Perfusionists usually work at hospitals, although some may be hired by surgeons or medical service groups.
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics doesn’t offer job growth or salary data specifically for perfusionists, however, surgical technologists are expected to experience a 15% job growth between 2014-2024, and cardiovascular technologists are expected to experience 22% job growth between 2014-2024.
To become a perfusionist, you must complete an education program accredited by the Committee on Allied Health Education and Accreditation (CAHEA) and pass an examination by the American Board of Cardiovascular Perfusion (ABCP). Programs are generally one to two years in length.
Licensure is required in Connecticut. An applicant must have successfully completed a perfusion education program with standards established by the Accreditation Committee for Perfusion Education and approved by the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education (CAAHE) and provide verification of completion of a minimum of 50 perfusion cases.
American Academy of Cardiovascular Perfusion
515A East Main Street
Annville, PA 17003
American Board of Cardiovascular Perfusion
2903 Arlington Loop
Hattiesburg, MS 39401