What is a Cardiovascular Perfusionist?
A perfusionist is a skilled, allied health professional, trained and educated specifically as a member of an open-heart, surgical team responsible for the selection, setup, and operation of a mechanical device commonly referred to as the heart-lung machine.
The roles and responsibilities of a cardiovascular perfusionist include:
- Studying the patient’s medical history and notes to be prepared for the surgery
- Operating and selecting of a variety of extracorporeal circulation equipment, such as the heart-lung machine, the artificial heart, blood transfusion devices, the intra-aortic balloon pump, and various ventricular-assist devices
- Monitoring and care management of the patient during surgery to ensure safe physiologic functions
- Routine administration of various types of blood products and medications to patients during surgery
- A variety of administrative duties, such as equipment management, supply purchasing, department management, and quality improvement
While they traditionally work with open heart surgeries, their role continues to expand to other surgical areas such as congenital heart defects, treatment of heart disease, and emergency cases.
Where do Cardiovascular Perfusionists work?
The work environment of a cardiovascular perfusionist is within a typical operating room within a hospital or large surgical center. They may find themselves standing for a majority of their day as well needing to operate heavy and intricate equipment.
- General Medical and Surgical Hospitals
- Offices of Physicians
- Outpatient Care Centers
- Other Ambulatory Health Care Services
- Specialty Hospitals (except Psychiatric and Substance Abuse)
- Medical and Diagnostic Laboratories
- Home Health Care Services
Some programs may offer a certificate instead of a masters degree upon completion. You also may want to consider where you want to practice after completion of a program to ensure your credentials and licensing are applicable for that state.
Currently, all Texas programs offer a Certificate in Cardiovascular Perfusion (12-month post-baccalaureate program), satisfying the requirements to sit for the American Board of Cardiovascular Perfusion exams. These programs may be considered workforce training; therefore, any coursework taken in these programs may be non-credit bearing and could not be transferred to other institutions for degree seeking purposes. (Check with each institution for more information.)
LICENSURE OUTSIDE TEXAS–Prospective applicants should consult applicable licensing boards for any state in which they may wish to pursue licensure prior to beginning a Cardiovascular Perfusion Program to ensure the program meets licensing requirements in that state. The prospective applicant is responsible for confirming the program meets eligibility requirements for licensure in any state outside the State of Texas.
DIY Student Planning Guide (Coming Soon)
Do-It-Yourself (DIY) Planning Guide & Self Assessment document provides important resources for UT Austin students planning on applying to cardiovascular perfusionist programs.
How to get started...
- Subscribe to the HPOinfo emails.
- Meet with a pre-health professions coach in the Health Professions Office to explore health professions and to discuss your goals and preparation, especially how to make the most out of your first two years.
- Take an average to heavy course load: 14–16 hours is considered a normal health professions course load. It is okay to take 12–13 hours your first semester at UT Austin.
- Get to know your professors. You will need faculty evaluations when you apply.
- Declare a major by your second year on campus.
- Non-College of Natural Sciences students are highly encouraged to add the Pre-Health Professions Certificate. Learn more about the certificate here.
- Get involved in extracurricular activities (e.g., student organizations, volunteering and shadowing in medical settings; community service).
- Attend the Health Professions Fair each year, generally held in February or March, to visit with representatives from health professions programs.
- Keep viable career alternatives open.
- Coming Soon
Longhorn Acceptance Statistics Entry Year
- Coming Soon