Perfusionists work closely with cardiac surgeons in the operating theatre to provide life support for patients with the heart-lung machine. Perfusionists assemble and operate the heart-lung machine during cardiopulmonary bypass operations, which essentially removes carbon dioxide and sends the oxygen-rich blood back to tissues and organs in the body. This allows for the heart to be stopped for the surgeon to operate on it. Perfusionists manage and optimise the many vital physiological parameters during the entire bypass support period.
Apart from working in the Operating Theatre, Perfusionists provide Extracorporeal Membrane Oxygenation (ECMO) to patients at the intensive care units, offering crucial life support for patients whose heart and/or lungs have been incapacitated by severe disease. The support may last for days or weeks, allowing time for treatment and recovery.
How to become a Perfusionist?
To practise as a Perfusionist, you will require a Bachelor of Science in Life Science or Biological Sciences.
For more information on institutions offering professional training to become a Perfusionist, visit the links below:
Perfusionists at NUHS