LPM: A Student’s Perspective: Cannulas and Cardioplegia

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Editor’s Note:

This is a continuation of a new series with a guest blogger who is currently enrolled in a perfusion program.  I am impressed that as a perfusion student she has the initiative to share her thoughts and impressions with us regarding the process of learning the art of perfusion technology from her own unique perspective:

“I am a first year perfusion student.I follow your facebook and website to stay updated on perfusion news from all around the world, and I love it. I saw the posting about needing bloggers and wanted to find out if you were interested in a student blogger. Either way, thank you for the work put into the website, it was valuable as I prepared to apply for my program as well as throughout it.

Thank you.”


The name of the series will be as above- LPM: A Student’s Perspective.  There is a slight play on the acronym as the L stands for Learning as opposed to a metric for Q.

As we all know- regardless of experience level- we all learn minute by minute.

Enjoy 🙂


Click here to view the entire LPM series

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Authored by: Kora


Cannulas and Cardioplegia: A Hands-On Look at Materials

Didactic work is an integral part of school and an extremely important part of learning about perfusion and being a perfusionist. However, nothing beats the time a student gets to spend in lab seeing and using the materials discussed in lecture. Today, my lab group was able to go over cannulas and determination of the best cannula for a procedure. While we’ve covered this previously in lecture, lab time consisted of looking at the various sizes and types of cannulas; straight-tipped and angled, as well as those with metal tips and those without. Perhaps not the most exciting aspect of perfusion, but incredibly necessary in order to be involved in proper cannula selection for a patient.


The most interesting aspect was discussing the cardioplegia cannulas and connecting their various uses to the pressure readings. One of the hardest parts about learning about perfusion is connecting didactic work to clinical work prior to seeing a case or seeing it in action. In particular, various pressure monitoring seems abstract until it is connected to a tangible object and discussed in depth. For me, it is always extremely helpful to learn about a topic, then see it and have an active part in understanding its use.

We observed cannulas used for antegrade cardioplegia delivery, and discussed the connected vent line, as our teacher hammered in the obvious, “don’t run your vent while running cardioplegia”, with other considerations involved with pediatrics of course. Retrograde cardioplegia was a bit more unique, as we discussed the method of insertion and the use of the balloon tip which may or may not be self-inflating, and the difference in the coronary pressure as well as in flow needed compared to antegrade cardioplegia delivery.

Having seen these devices, it is now much easier to visualize their use and gain a better understanding of what is going on at the table. This will allow us to become better perfusionists in the future. Laboratory time is essential for perfusion students and a successful lab will help solidify understanding for topics discussed in didactic work in a way that no book can.


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