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Cleveland Clinic Cardiovascular Perfusion Program


Cardiovascular perfusion is an allied health science that involves providing extracorporeal circulation in order to artificially support and temporarily replace a patient’s respiratory and circulatory systems.

Perfusionists use heart-lung machines and other technologies to maintain the health of patients during heart surgery and other medical procedures, working with and under the direction of anesthesiologists and surgeons.

The Cleveland Clinic Heart & Vascular Institute offers a post-baccalaureate, certificate-based Cardiovascular Perfusion program. The Cleveland Clinic Cardiovascular Perfusion Program is accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs upon recommendation of the Accreditation Committee – Perfusion Education (AC-PE). The program is not affiliated with an academic institution at this time. Students successfully completing the program are eligible to become certified by the American Board of Cardiovascular Perfusion. (Note: Some states require perfusionists to be licensed.)


Cleveland Clinic’s mission is to provide better care of the sick, investigation into their problems, and further education of those who serve.

The mission of the Cardiovascular Perfusion Program is to develop highly trained, professional perfusionists capable of successfully performing clinical perfusion techniques to meet the specialized needs of Cleveland Clinic’s Heart & Vascular Institute; perform clinical research to advance the field of perfusion; and to contribute to the education of others.

Cleveland Clinic Cardiovascular Perfusion Program is accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs upon recommendation of the Accreditation Committee – Perfusion Education (AC-PE).

Program Description

Cleveland Clinic’s Cardiovascular Perfusion Program is an intensive, full-time, 18-month (4 term) program consisting of a rigorous academic schedule and intense clinical education.

Classes start each year, the first week of January.

All program classes are held at Cleveland Clinic’s main campus hospital located at 9500 Euclid Ave., Cleveland, OH 44195, in the Sydell and Miller Family Heart & Vascular Institute, building J.

Students completing the program will graduate with a Certificate of Completion and will be eligible for the American Board of Cardiovascular Perfusion certification examination.

Application Deadline

To be considered for the January class, all applications must be received by September 1.

Program Goals

To prepare competent entry-level perfusionists in the cognitive (knowledge), psychomotor (skills), and affective (behavior) learning domains.

To provide a base knowledge of perfusion theory, the skill to implement that knowledge and proficiency in its application in accordance with the needs of healthcare providers and employers.

To provide students with the knowledge, skills and experience to work cooperatively and safely with a healthcare team to perform perfusion techniques to ensure quality patient outcomes.

To prepare students to assess perfusion related patient and clinical situations accurately and act appropriately.

To prepare students to qualify for the American Board of Cardiovascular Perfusion certification examination.

Program Outcomes

At the completion of Cleveland Clinic’s School of Cardiovascular Perfusion, students will be able to:

  1. Demonstrate clinical skills in cardiopulmonary bypass and mechanical circulatory devices.
  2. Demonstrate clinical skills in autotransfusion, blood conservation, and blood product management.
  3. Demonstrate clinical skills in laboratory analysis of blood gases, hematocrit, and coagulation.
  4. Integrate perfusion theory to clinical applications.
  5. Demonstrate acquired knowledge of various perfusion equipment and supplies used in the healthcare setting.
  6. Demonstrate acquired perfusion knowledge and general medical knowledge.
  7. Respond appropriately during crisis management.
  8. Effectively manage a catastrophic event such as device failure or air emboli.
  9. Conduct themselves in a professional manner and function effectively as a member of the healthcare team.
  10. Pass the American Board of Cardiovascular Perfusion’s Perfusion Basic Science Examination (PBSE) and Clinical Applications in Perfusion Examination (CAPE) meeting AB-CP outcome thresholds.

Admission Requirements

Admission to the Cleveland Clinic’s School of Cardiovascular Perfusion Program is a selective process. Applicants must submit evidence of the following:

  1. Completion of a bachelor’s level or higher degree from a regionally accredited college or university.
  2. Completion of the following prerequisite coursework:
    1. Anatomy and Physiology
    2. Chemistry
    3. Biology
    4. Statistics
    5. Organic or Biochemistry
    6. Pharmacology
    7. Physics
    8. Research
  3. A 3.0 GPA in all science coursework.
  4. Completed Cleveland Clinic School of Cardiovascular Perfusion Program Application Form and noted attachments.

Technical Standards

Perfusionists require certain physical requirements to meet the demands of the profession. They require a full range of body motion including the ability to lift and/or bear the weight of 100 pounds or more while pulling, lifting, pushing and transferring patients. Perfusionists must be able to stand, walk, and sit for extended periods. Good visual acuity through normal or corrected vision to normal range. They must have the ability to work within guidelines of universal safety precautions, using protective gear. In the workplace, they must be willing to rotate 24 hour coverage (on-call) and be able to work under stressful conditions. They may be required to travel in ambulance, small airplanes or helicopter for organ procurement.

In addition, students must possess the integrity, intelligence and personal and emotional characteristics to become an effective healthcare professional. The following represent a more detailed description of the physical requirements to succeed in the program.

  1. Sensory and Motor Skills – Students and candidates for program admission should be able to:
    1. Lift, pull, push and transfer patients in a safe manner.
    2. Lift, pull, push and carry clinical equipment in a safe and controlled manner.
    3. Demonstrate basic clinical skills related to the use of extracorporeal equipment, circuitry, and ancillary clinical patient care devices and equipment.
    4. Execute quick and purposeful movements during emergency treatment of patients.
  2. Communication – Students and candidates for program admission should be able to:
    1. Possess excellent verbal and written communication skills in the English.
    2. Speak clearly.
    3. Hear sufficiently.
    4. Produce and transmit patient information in oral and written format to members of the healthcare team.
    5. Communicate with patients effectively with compassion and empathy.
    6. Possess demonstrated reading skills at a sufficient grade level to accomplish curricular requirements.
    7. Provide effective care to patients.
  3. Intellectual – Students and candidates for program admission should be able to:
    1. Measure, calculate, interpret, analyze, question, compile and evaluate information from various modalities to effectively evaluate extracorporeal equipment and treat patients.
    2. Comprehend spatial relationships of structures and models.
    3. Comprehend relationships between patient care parameters and anticipate cause and effect responses based on their actions and inactions.
    4. Learn through a variety of teaching modalities including classroom lecture, cooperative learning, small group activities, medical simulation and laboratory exercises, individual and group presentations, and the use of technology assisted learning.
    5. Make rapid decisions in life threatening situations where problem solving and critical thinking are required.
  4. Behavioral and Social Attributes – Students and candidates for program admission should be able to:
    1. Demonstrate emotional stability.
    2. Exercise good judgment, prompt completion of all responsibilities related to care of patients and participation on a patient care team.
    3. Develop mature and effective relationships with co-workers and patients.
    4. Perform problem solving skills in a timely manner.
    5. Tolerate physically demanding workloads.
    6. Function effectively under stress.
    7. Adapt to changing environments, display flexibility, and learn to function in an environment of uncertainty inherent in the clinical practice of cardiovascular perfusion.
    8. Practice in a safe manner.
    9. Respond appropriately to emergencies.
    10. Treat all patients, families, colleagues, and other members of the health care team with dignity and respect.
    11. Demonstrate honesty, integrity, dedication, compassion and motivation.
    12. Accept constructive criticism and respond appropriately with an acceptable modification of behavior.
  5. Observation – Students and candidates for program admission should be able to:
    1. Visualize information presented in images from paper and projections such as PowerPoint slides and video.
    2. Observe laboratory, lecture and clinical demonstrations.
    3. Observe patients and members of the healthcare team accurately at a distance and close.
Additional information about perfusion school program:

Students Admitted: 6
Program Length: 18 months
In state tuition: $24,000
Out of state tuition: $24,000
Degree: Post Graduate Certificate Award

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