The Evolving Role of the Modern Perfusionist: Insights from Transesophageal Echocardiography

Perfusion. 2020 Jul 30. Online ahead of print

Transesophageal echocardiography may serve the clinical perfusionist by providing imaging guidance for identifying potential problems before cardiopulmonary bypass, guiding the proper placement of cannulas, monitoring cardiac performance on cardiopulmonary bypass, and providing useful feedback during weaning from cardiopulmonary bypass.

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Transesophageal echocardiography is a relatively non-invasive, mobile, safe imaging technique that is ideal for providing real-time information on cardiac anatomy and function during heart surgery. The technology has evolved from two-dimensional to real-time three-dimensional imaging during cardiac procedures, which has significantly benefited preoperative planning, intraoperative guidance, evaluation, and postoperative follow-up. Transesophageal echocardiography may serve the clinical perfusionist by providing imaging guidance for identifying potential problems before cardiopulmonary bypass, guiding the proper placement of cannulas, monitoring cardiac performance on cardiopulmonary bypass, and providing useful feedback during weaning from cardiopulmonary bypass. Although the perfusionist should be able to understand all echocardiographic images and measurements in depth, perfusion-related echocardiographic information can or should be used to optimize the clinical practice of the modern perfusionist. Vice versa, whenever the perfusionist suspects a problem, the surgical team including the sonographer should verify this “clinical treat” by echocardiography whenever possible.