Perfusion and ECMO

What is Perfusion?

Perfusion refers to everything that is done to make sure your child’s circulatory (heart and blood) and respiratory (breathing) needs are being met during surgery.

Our perfusionists are part of the operating team, along with the surgeons and anesthesiologists. During the surgery, the perfusionist operates the heart-lung machine, monitors your child’s blood circulation and keeps the rest of the surgical team informed of any changes.  The perfusionist is also responsible for providing long-term support of your child’s circulation after the operation is concluded.

At Doernbecher, we have two perfusionists per patient. If needed, our perfusionists may use a procedure called Extracorporeal Membrane Oxygenation (ECMO).

ECMO is a potentially life-saving procedure that provides oxygen and cardiac (heart) support for patients in cardiac (heart), pulmonary (lung) or cardiopulmonary failure. Our team of ECMO specialists includes perfusionists, ICU doctors, respiratory therapists and registered nurses who have special training in this procedure.