Career Perfusionist: [1] What is a Perfusionist ?

The perfusionist, also known as a clinical perfusionist or a cardiovascular perfusionist, is a specialized healthcare professional who use the heart-lung machine during cardiac surgery and other surgeries that require cardiopulmonary bypass to manage the patient physiological status.

The perfusionist is a highly trained member of the cardiothoracic surgical team which consists of cardiac surgeons, anesthesiologists, physician assistants, surgical technicians, and nurses.

The perfusionist’s main responsibility is to manage the physiological and metabolic needs of the cardiac surgical patient so that the cardiac surgeon– … may operate on a still, unbeating heart.

This is accomplished through the utilization of the heart-lung machine, as well as its associated components of an oxygenator, filters, reservoirs and tubing.

The perfusionist is solely responsible for the management of circulatory and respiratory functions of the patient which has a great effect on the patient systemic condition and allows the cardiac surgeon to focus on the actual surgical procedure and less on the immediate needs of the patient.

Other responsibilities include autologous blood collection and processing, implementation and management of the intra-aortic balloon pump, adult and infant extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (ECMO) as well as monitoring of anticoagulation, electrolyte, acid-base balance and blood-gas composition.

In many tertiary hospitals, perfusionists are also key personnel in placing and managing patients on ventricular assist devices as bridge to recovery or heart transplantation and supporting patients receiving lung or liver transplants.

In certain hospitals, perfusionists can be involved in procurement of cardiothoracic donor organs for transplantation.

Next:== Perfusion Training & Education


Nadia Azuero, BS, CCP (Top picture)

Briann Forsberg, MPH, CCP  (2nd picture)

Marshal Fischer, CCP (5th picture)


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Any Donations are for the cost and development of an International Perfusion Art Gallery, Framing, Printing, Matting, and Expenses associated with delivering the Gallery to future Perfusion Conferences.

A project of this nature hasn’t been tried before, but it would be a lot of fun to see something like this at a perfusion conference, as an effort to improve and develop our international awareness as well as appreciate some very dynamic art !

Anything helps- $10 -$25 or whatever-  It will all add up…