$45.10 to $60.54 per hour
Health Sciences Association of Alberta (HSAA)
Advanced graduate diploma in cardiovascular perfusion
Respiratory therapy, registered nursing, or related health sciences bachelor’s degree
Cardiovascular perfusionists operate specialized equipment to support or replace heart and lung function during cardiovascular and thoracic surgical procedures, utilizing the heart-lung machine and other artificial circulatory and respiratory support devices.
In preparation for surgical procedures, cardiovascular perfusionists assemble and prepare required equipment, supplies, solutions and drugs. During surgical procedures, they operate and monitor the heart-lung machine, intra-aortic balloon pump, ventricular assist devices, blood salvage (cell-savers) and extracorporeal life support equipment. They take blood samples from the circuit, perform basic laboratory tests, and monitor results. Cardiovascular perfusionists assist in administering anesthetics, blood products, medical gases and other pharmaceuticals. Cardiovascular perfusionists provide critical support to surgical procedures such as coronary artery bypass surgery, heart valve surgery, aortic surgery, and repair of congenital heart defects, as well as heart, lung, and liver transplants. They also educate students and train other hospital staff regarding cardiopulmonary support and specialized equipment.
Cardiovascular perfusionists typically work in hospital operating theatres, intensive care units, and radiology departments. In the course of their work, cardiovascular perfusionists work directly with patients, physicians and surgeons, nurses, and other allied health care staff. They typically work as part of a cardiovascular surgical team, but also work independently when operating and troubleshooting specialized equipment.
Cardiovascular perfusionists typically work full-time or part-time hours plus on-call responsibilities. They may also work in positions that are permanent, temporary, or casual depending on department and facility needs. Shift schedules may include a combination of day and evening shifts, as well as night-time and weekend on-call duty.
Cardiovascular perfusionists may be required to sit and stand for extended periods of time in the course of their work. They may occasionally be required to transport equipment, and accompany patients in ambulances and aircraft. Cardiovascular perfusionists are often exposed to biohazardous material, ionizing radiation, and chemical hazards, making appropriate safety precautions a priority for themselves and their patients.