Perfusionists, formerly known as cardiovascular perfusionists or clinical perfusionists, play a crucial role in the field of cardiovascular surgery. They operate what is known as the "heart-lung machine," among other duties. The perfusionist is responsible for all aspects of the heart-lung machine whenever it becomes necessary to interrupt or replace the functioning of the heart by circulating blood outside of a patient's body. There are approximately 4,000 perfusionists employed in the United States.

Quick Facts
Duties Operate what is known as the "heart-lung machine" and perform other duties during heart or lung surgery
Alternate Title(s) Cardiovascular Perfusionists, Clinical Perfusionists
Salary Range $75,000 to $100,000+
Employment Prospects Good
Advancement Prospects Good
Work Environment Primarily Indoors
Best Geographical Location(s) Nationwide; most opportunities in major metropolitan areas
Education and Training
  • Bachelor's Degree
Related School Subjects
  • Biology
  • Health
  • Mathematics
Experience Clinical training
  • Computer
  • Math
  • Scientific
Personality Traits
  • Hands On
  • Problem-Solving
  • Scientific
Licensure/Certification Recommended
Special Requirements None
Career Ladder
  • Senior Perfusionist
  • Perfusionist
  • Cardiovascular Technician

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