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Perfusionists are operating room specialists who conduct cardiopulmonary bypass. That is, they pump and oxygenate the blood of patients whose hearts or lungs are stopped, usually during open heart surgery.

Occasionally, perfusionists work outside the operating room, providing support for patients with circulatory failure.

Working in conjunction with cardiac surgeons, perfusionists:

  • adjust oxygen levels, change body temperatures, correct electrolyte imbalances and manipulate blood flow to meet each patient’s metabolic need
  • administer medications, blood products and fluids
  • monitor the coagulation status of a patient’s blood to prevent clotting
  • by processing their patients’ own blood, perfusionists minimize the amount of blood lost during surgery, which minimizes the need for donated blood
We encourage students to observe an open-heart procedure at a medical center and conduct an informational interview with a clinical perfusionist.

The Program is accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs (CAAHEP), 25400 US Highway 19 North, Suite 158, Clearwater, FL; 727-210-2350; caahep.org

 

For information on individual state licensing requirements, please visit the State Licensing Requirements page. 

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