A perfusionist is a highly trained and specialized professional who operates the heart-lung machine during cardiac and other types of surgery. Perfusion is relatively new to medicine.
Dr. John Gibbon performed the first open heart procedure in 1951 while using the heart-lung machine.
The perfusionist’s main responsibility is support of the patient’s physiological and metabolic needs, creating a motionless and bloodless field so that the cardiac surgeon can effectively operate on the heart. This is accomplished through the use of equipment that includes an oxygenator, filter, reservoir, tubing, and specialized devices.
Other responsibilities of the perfusionist include:
The UPMC perfusion team provides expert support for all of these procedures.
Use of the patient's own blood (autologous) can decrease the need for transfusion of banked blood. This can, in turn, benefit patients by avoiding the risks associated with transfusions.
Acute normovolemic hemodilution
For more information about the Patient Blood Management Program at UPMC, please contact us at 1-877-674-7111.
If you wish to refuse blood and/or blood products for a procedure, hospital stay, etc., you can save time by completing a Release From Liability for Failure to Administer Blood Transfusion Form (RFL) for Patients Who Decline Transfusions (PDF).
Bloodless medicine solutions are available for expecting mothers who choose not to receive blood transfusions. Connect with a bloodless medicine advocate early in your pregnancy and learn about available options. Call 877-674-7111 to get started.