The Certified Clinical Perfusionist is an individual who has undergone extensive academic and clinical education and is qualified by professional credentialing to provide extracorporeal patient care services.
Our pediatric perfusionists are Board Certified allied-health professionals trained and educated specifically as members of the congenital heart surgery team. They are responsible for the selection, setup and operation of the heart-lung machine , autotransfusion, ECMO,Ventricular Assist Devices and any other circulation equipment during medical procedures where it is necessary to support or temporarily replace a patient's respiratory and/or circulatory functions. Children's of Alabama has 4 Perfusionists and 3 Perfusionist Assistants.
The patient's heart is stopped during surgery so it is easier for the surgeon to operate. Using the heart-lung machine, the perfusionist diverts the patient's blood away from the heart and lungs into the machine. The heart-lung machine oxygenates that blood and returns it to the patient's body. The patient is often cooled to reduce the metabolic demand of the tissues, which is also closely monitored and controlled by the perfusionist.