Master of Science in Cardiovascular Perfusion

Overview:

Perfusionists operate life support devices to support patients’ circulatory and respiratory systems. The perfusion profession is relatively small with fewer than 4,000 practitioners in the United States; however, with the growing elderly population and the development of new heart support devices, experienced, and well trained perfusionists will be in demand for many years to come.

Some perfusionists also have leadership roles that include budgeting, equipment purchasing, hiring, and scheduling of staff. Graduates also gain employment as researchers, teachers or consultants to equipment manufacturers.

Perfusionists who graduate from an AC-PE accredited perfusion training program are eligible to take the American Board of Cardiovascular Perfusion Certification Exam which is recognized nationally. In addition, some states have a licensing process which usually includes a requirement for ABCP certification.

MUSC Offers Two Programs in Cardiovascular Perfusion

Master of Science in Cardiovascular Perfusion – Entry Level
The Cardiovascular Perfusion Program prepares its graduates to work as Certified Clinical Perfusionists (CCP) in a variety of health care settings where cardiopulmonary life support services are required. Perfusionists are typically employed in cardiac surgical centers and operate the heart-lung machine during open heart surgery. They serve as experts in associated technologies such as ventricular assist devices and are involved in all aspects of intraoperative blood conservation and management.

As a graduate of MUSC’s CVP program, you’ll become a highly-trained member of an open heart surgery team. Extensive knowledge of anatomy, pharmacology, pathology, and surgical techniques are keys to success. Perfusionists often specialize in areas of pediatric perfusion or ventricular assist devices and the MUSC Perfusion Program provides extensive experience in both of these areas.

The MUSC Perfusion Program was started in 1979 by James P. Dearing and is considered one of the best programs in the country. This is evidenced by very high pass rates on the American Board of Cardiovascular Perfusion Certification Exam, a large number of research publications by the full-time faculty members, and a world class simulation facility for practicing perfusion techniques. In addition to clinical facilities at MUSC, students receive clinical training at several other highly recognized cardiac surgical centers that serve as MUSC clinical affiliation sites.

Master of Science in Cardiovascular Perfusion – Post Professional

Thirty-two percent of practicing perfusionists have a graduate degree, however more than 50 percent of graduating perfusionists in 2017 are from graduate level programs. In order to remain competitive, access to graduate level education in this profession is needed. There is only one post professional program currently in the U.S and over 3000 perfusionists with only an undergraduate degree. Many hospitals are trying to increase the educational level of nurses because hospitals recognize that higher educational levels are associated with decreases in mortality, readmission rates, and length of stay. Improvements in outcomes following cardiac surgery would also be expected to occur if the educational level of graduating perfusionists is increased, similar to the effect seen in nursing. The demand for cardiac-related services is expected to grow by 20 percent between 2013 and 2025 as the population ages. There is also an increased complexity of surgical procedures due to the large number of elderly and very young patients (less than 1 month of age) with significant medical conditions now undergoing cardiac procedures. These high risk patients have an increased risk of mortality and morbidity following surgery. A high level health care practitioner is necessary to insure that high quality evidence-based care is delivered. A recent needs assessment survey identified leadership training as an important area for additional training at the graduate level. We have included courses on leadership, quality improvement, and informatics to fulfill that demand.

The program allows working perfusionists who have completed an AC-PE accredited perfusion education program the opportunity to advance their educational and professional goals.

New technologies and surgical procedures require that practicing certified cardiovascular perfusionists (C.C.P.) have an increased knowledge base for managing both neonates and elderly patients with complex medical conditions as well as the application of new cardiac assist devices. Leadership skills are becoming more essential as an increased number of practicing cardiovascular perfusionists attain leadership roles.

This graduate level program will provide a plan of study that includes coursework and a capstone research project that is designed to address these requirements. Courses are available through a variety of distance learning technologies (asynchronous online activities, independent reading, and projects).

Requirements:

Bachelor’s degree from a regionally accredited college or university.

Additional information about perfusion school program:

Students Admitted: 21
Program Length: 21 months
In state tuition: $7,584
Out of state tuition: $11,591
Degree: MS  in Cardiovascular Perfusion