Perfusion Age Survey Results !

Editor’s Note:

The name Methuselah, or the phrase “old as Methuselah,” is commonly used to refer to any living thing reaching great age.  Hence the title, hence the survey.

But age is a sword that cuts both ways in our profession.  Is it possible that too old may indeed trump too young?

I honestly feel, that age is not the limiting factor when considering, innate talent, preparation, grace under pressure, and one’s thought process.

Certainly, there are impacts implied by age, that need to be considered, (flexibility, speed), but usually not conditioning or stamina.

Mental acuity is the rapier point to the argument.  Are you as sharp as you once were?

So We did a survey- and although n=81, it is time to publish the results.

The Results Please …


Click all images to enlarge…

Respondent Demographics: Male dominant: Most likely represents the gender split of practicing perfusionists.



Respondent Demographics: Surprisingly even distribution…  Ages from 36 to 55  responded the heaviest.



Respondent Demographics: Shows me that we have more work to do to get cultural diversity invested…


Respondent Demographics: Shows me that we have more work to do to get the rest of the world involved…


AGE _ (Too Old)


The essence of the question here- was what criteria you would consider most significant when evaluating an older perfusionist for the job?


Criteria (Old)

Experience & References top the list



Knowledge base, Dedication, & Intellect top these…


Negative Characteristics

Lack of enthusiasm, followed by low confidence, knowledge base, and poor verbal expression–  ranked as the highest negative factors detrimental to prospective employment for older perfusionists.


What will kill the deal?

Questionable work ethic & deception top this list


Factors for Hiring…

Honesty, work ethic, and personality top this list for why an older perfusionist will take the job.


The Bottom Line…

The take-off point seems to be between 60 & 65 + ish.  A very sturdy response that >65 isn’t going to work.

=AGE  (Too Young)



The essence of the question here- was what criteria you would consider most significant when evaluating a younger perfusionist for the job?

Basic age question- RE; experience

Overwhelmingly- 22 is too young of a puppy. >25 works!


What will kill the deal ?

Knowledge, work ethic, and deception are the top reasons NOT to hire.


Factors for Hiring…

Recommendation’s, honesty, & knowledge base top these …

Editor’s Note:

In my opinion this is a fairly accurate assessment of what I would expect the general perception is.

I got into perfusion at 30, and had a prior 12 year history in medicine as an EMT, a Navy Corpsman, an OR scrub tech, and then as a 1st assistant.

Perfusion is a combination of experience, mental acuity, decisiveness, and speed.

65 seems to be the consensus for a cut off date.

Experience can offset speed and performance issues, as one ages, mental acuity is not a measurable component and can substantially vary in terms of a decade-to-decade comparison.

As one ages, preperation can offset the need for speed in terms of crashing a patient on bypass.

The lingering caveat however, remains in how confident you are in yourself, as well as the reciprocal comfort level from the surgeon and the staff.

There are NO wounded deer in the heart room.  And IMO there shouldn’t be.

And by making that comment, I am making no endorsement whatsoever regarding age limits for practicing perfusionists.

I am 55 and measure myself everyday in terms of what I can bring to the table (dinner as well as work).  But I can stand firm with the position that you have to bring your game every day.  There is no excuse whatsoever (age, gender, weight, anxiety, family circumstances, and what not) that you can offer to your team, the patient, and the patient’s family regarding preparation or lack thereof.

You can NEVER say- “I wasn’t quick enough”.

You always have to be that…