How to Become a Perfusionist?

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Ever wondered what goes on in a cardiac operating room? Who all are involved in the cardiovascular surgical team and what are their specializations? There are surgeons, cardiologists, nurses, anesthesiologists, Perfusionists, and other medical professionals. Just like any other medical professional, a Perfusionist plays an equally important role in medicine. A Perfusionist is someone who operates a heart-lung machine (artificial blood pump) that propels oxygenated blood to the patient’s tissues while the surgeon operates on the heart. Keep reading to know more about this unique career path and how to become a Perfusionist after the 12th!

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Who is a Perfusionist?

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A Perfusionist is a skilled and well-trained medical professional who takes care of the machines and cardiopulmonary operations used during cardiac surgery. They are also required for any other surgeries to maintain the physiological status of a patient.

A Perfusionist ensures that the machinery performs the role of the heart while the operation is performed on the heart patient. To execute this role, a Perfusionist must be well informed about the medical equipment, the techniques of usage, the medical history of patients, and the monitoring of vital signs throughout the operation.

Types of a Perfusionist

Radiology Technicians: Radiology technicians act as assistants to radiologists, assisting them in the diagnosis and treatment of patients utilizing diagnostic imaging tests such as X-rays, CT scans, and MRI scans. One of their responsibilities is to prepare patients and equipment for radiological operations, as well as perform tests and maintain the equipment.

Registered Nurse: Registered nurses are healthcare professionals who work in hospitals, doctor’s offices, and at home. A patient care, coordination, and education of patients and the public about various healthcare issues are among their responsibilities.

Cytotechnologists: Cytotechnologists are scientists that specialize in the study of cells and cellular abnormalities. They analyze slides of human cells with microscopes to look for any abnormalities. To detect abnormal situations, they prepare and analyze samples such as Papanicolaou (PAP) smear bodily fluids and fine needle aspirants (FNAs).

Respiratory Therapist: A respiratory therapist is a medical specialist that specializes in lung treatment. Respiratory therapists are well-versed in high-tech equipment like mechanical ventilation.

What is the Work Environment of a Perfusionist

Perfusionists are necessary to work in operating rooms and intensive care units (ICUs) during heart and lung surgery at hospitals and surgical centers. Working as a perfusionist necessitates collaboration. He or she is the only surgeon on the squad. Perfusionists must be knowledgeable about the patient’s medical history and current health state. The perfusionist and the surgeon decide which operating equipment and procedures will be utilized before starting the surgery. This section offers in-depth information regarding the perfusionist’s working environment.

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Skills Required to be a Perfusionist

A Perfusionist must possess both hard skills as well as soft skills. The soft skills essential in a Perfusionist are given below: 

  • Strong communication skills with the ability to write and read
  • The clarity to understand a situation during surgery
  • A clear understanding of the needs of a surgery 
  • Ability to operate the machines accurately
  • Ability to stay consistent even during a stressful environment
  • Maintaining poise and calm during the crucial hour
  • Instant decision-making ability without compromising on patient’s health
  • Ability to concentrate and pay attention to machine readings
  • Excellent knowledge and technical understanding of bypass machine
  • Ability to fix and update machines

Step-Wise Guide to Become a Perfusionist

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There are some very simple and crucial steps to be followed to become a Perfusionist.

Some of the basic steps are given below:

  • Getting a degree, certificate degree, or master’s degree- B.Sc Perfusion Technology, M.Sc Perfusion Technology, and Certification through the American Board of Cardiovascular Perfusion to become a certified clinical perfusionist (CCP)
  • Gaining clinical experience- a minimum of 5 years
  • Clearing the certification examinations- ABCP (American Board of Cardiovascular Perfusion) exam to be a CCP (Certified Clinical Perfusionists).
  • Looking for suitable Perfusionist positions- hospitals and medical centers
  • Designing a resume and applying– A short and to the point resume with details on degrees, scores, work experience, and cleared exams is a must

The key to becoming a perfusionist is a minimum of a bachelor’s degree with certification and a master’s degree is preferred. Given below are the descriptions for achieving the above steps. Let’s begin with the requirements to become a Perfusionist.

Eligibility Criteria for Perfusionist

To become a Perfusionist the minimum requirements are the following:

  • A 10+2 degree from a recognized school with a minimum 50% score, with at least biology or physics as one of the studied subjects, varies in some universities
  • Minimum 55% score in bachelor’s degree from a recognized college or program certificate or masters degree in the similar domain, varies in some universities
  • Experience, skills, training
  • Job-related experiences through a certificate program
  • Laboratory courses and clinical rotations during Master’s program
  • Clearing certification examination through the American Board of Cardiovascular Perfusion (CAPE) along with completion of 75 clinical perfusions 

Subjects in Perfusion Technology

The graduation of B.Sc Perfusion Technology is a three years course. The subjects of study include: 

  • Human anatomy
  • Physiology
  • Biochemistry
  • Clinical pathology, hematology and blood banking
  • Microbiology
  • Medicine relevant to perfusion technology
  • Applied pathology and microbiology
  • Applied pharmacology
  • Introduction to perfusion technology
  • Clinical perfusion technology
  • Applied perfusion technology
  • Advanced perfusion technology

The post-graduation or M.Sc. Perfusion Technology is a two years course. The subjects included are:

  • Cardiology
  • Cardiac surgery
  • Introduction to perfusion technology
  • Equipment in perfusion technology
  • Physiology and pathology of perfusion
  • Pharmacology and cardiovascular drugs
  • Clinical applications
  • Cardiac surgery without CPB machine, circulatory support, and robotic cardiac surgery
  • Organ transplantation
  • Hematology relevant to perfusion, blood transfusion, and blood conservation

Also Read: Best Courses for Perfusion Technology

Top Universities in India for Perfusionist course

  • DY Patil University
  • JSS Medical College and Hospital
  • SRM University KattanKulathur campus
  • Chitkara University
  • Mahatma Gandhi Medical College and Research Institute
  • Amrita Vishwa Vidyapeeth
  • Manipal University, School of Allied health science
  • Sharda University
  • Indian Council of Agricultural Research
  • Indira Gandhi National Open University (IGNOU)
  • Symbiosis Center for Distance Learning

Top Universities in Abroad for Perfusionist course

Career Scope & Salary

According to the US Bureau of Labour Statistics, the job growth rate in this position is 14% Between 2018 and 2028. This is faster than any national job growth rate. This signifies the strong need and job stability of cardiovascular technologists and Perfusionists. Perfusionists who work full time at reputed hospitals and surgery centers are paid well. The salary may range depending upon the geographical location of work, the experience of work, and the environment.

Perfusionist salary
Source: PayScale

Companies that Hire Perfusionists

  • All India Institute of medical science
  • Max Hospital
  • Apollo Hospital
  • Fortis Hospital
  • Kailash Hospital
  • Help Age India, SCTIMST
  • Metro hospitals
  • Research and development centers
  • NGOs and social welfare organizations
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What is the job outlook for Perfusionists?

Because older adults are more susceptible to cardiovascular disease, open-heart surgery is necessary for a greater number of patients. Perfusion is also being increasingly integrated into additional types of operations, including those for congenital heart abnormalities, heart disease treatment, chemotherapy, and emergency trauma situations. Every medical company brings with it a large medical workforce, which is the most important demand of these businesses. After considering these variables, it is reasonable to conclude that the employment market for a Perfusionist is excellent and is anticipated to grow rapidly in the next years. Surgical technology experts are predicted to see a 15% increase in work opportunities between 2014 and 2024, while cardiovascular technology professionals are likely to see a 22% increase in job opportunities. Both of these rates are much higher than the national average for job growth. Perfusionists are in great demand owing to the aging Indian population, which is prone to high rates of cardiovascular disease and may increase the number of cardiac procedures in the future, resulting in an exponential growth in the need for perfusionists.

Must Read: Masters in Emergency Medicine

This was all about how to become a Perfusionist! Perfusionists and cardiopulmonary technicians have a bright future because of the vast scope and expertise needed for this job profile. If you want to fulfill your dream of pursuing a career as a Perfusionist, then book a free consultation with Leverage Edu experts today.

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