Cardiovascular Perfusion Profession and Opportunities
Cardiovascular Perfusion is a very specialized allied health profession. The perfusionist is a highly trained member of the open-heart surgery team who is predominantly responsible for the operation of the heart-lung machine. In the operating suite, the cardiac catheterization laboratory, intensive care units and the emergency department, the perfusionist employs a number of highly technical devices that monitor, support and/or replace the functions of the patient’s cardiovascular and/or pulmonary systems. The perfusionist must command extensive knowledge in human anatomy, physiology, pharmacology, pathology and surgical technique.
Hospitals in moderate to large cities usually have active open- heart surgery programs that require perfusion support. Heart disease continues to be a leading cause of mortality and morbidity in this country. Routine cardiac surgery, heart transplant, and specialty techniques and procedures should ensure that the demand for well-trained perfusionists would continue.
Medical University of South Carolina
The Medical University of South Carolina (MUSC) is an academic health care center comprised of a 600-bed referral and teaching center with six colleges (Dental Medicine, Graduate Studies, Health Professions, Medicine, Nursing, and Pharmacy). MUSC's perfusion education program is in the Department of Health Professions of the College of Health Professions (CHP) (established 1965) at the Medical University of South Carolina. Cardiovascular Perfusion is one of twelve health professions residing in CHP.
MUSC is state-owned and is South Carolina's primary specialized academic health care facility. MUSC also houses a Children's Hospital where approximately 300 pediatric and infant cardiac surgeries are performed annually. MUSC has an active liver transplant, heart transplant, lung transplant, ventricular assist and ECMO program in which the Cardiovascular Perfusion faculty and students actively participate.