Special Technologies and Services
Perfusionist

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Salary: $45,000 - $60,000
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Hourly: $36.23 - $77.7
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Outlook: 2 Stars
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Length of Training: 5+ years
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Certified Clinical Perfusionists (CCPs) are members of an open-heart surgical team. They select, setup, and operate the extracorporeal circulation equipment (heart-lung machine) during any medical situation where it is necessary to support or temporarily replace a patient’s respiratory or circulatory functions, as in open-heart surgery. Perfusionists monitor the patient’s circulation during the procedure and in some cases provide long-term support after the operation. A perfusionist is knowledgeable about the variety of equipment available to perform extracorporeal (outside the body) circulation and helps select the appropriate equipment for the procedure, including blood salvage equipment.

Areas of Specialization

A perfusionist can specialize based on the types of procedures with which they assist. They can specialize in operating heart-lung machines during cardiopulmonary bypass. They can also specialize in ventricular-assist device monitoring, intraaortic balloon pump monitoring, isolated limb perfusion, or autotransfusion procedures.

Work Environment

Perfusionists are usually employed by hospitals, but are also employed by individual surgeons or companies that provide perfusion services or manufacture perfusion supplies and equipment. Perfusionists may also work in research and development, or marketing and sales companies. Perfusionists must be able to handle very stressful situations, pay great attention to detail, and be very responsible and willing to stay on top of new developments in the profession. In conjunction with the physician, perfusionists are responsible for the selection of the most appropriate equipment and techniques for administration of blood products, anesthetic agents, and drugs. They may also perform administrative duties, such as purchasing equipment and supplies, hiring personnel, managing their department, and quality improvement.