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MHS - Cardiovascular Perfusion

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Surgeons don’t perform open heart surgery alone. Cardiovascular perfusionists are essential members of the support team who make this and other types of life-saving procedures possible.

Program Overview

We’ll teach you to operate the equipment perfusionists use to support or replace a patient’s heart and lung functions during cardiac surgery and to monitor vital cardiopulmonary signs to keep the patient stable. You’ll also learn to administer the appropriate medications and anesthesia during surgery. 

Our program is one of only nine in the nation that offers graduate-level training in this profession. As cardiovascular disease becomes increasingly common, the employment opportunities in this field continue to expand, and we prepare you to enter the workforce with a competitive advantage. 

A strong sense of responsibility and the capacity to work effectively with other professionals in a high-pressure environment are essential qualities of successful cardiovascular perfusionists. You’ll acquire both during group activities and clinical work. Plus, you’ll learn in our technologically sophisticated Center for Medicine, Nursing and Health Sciences. 

Curriculum and Requirements

MHS in Cardiovascular Perfusion Curriculum

Plan of Study Grid
First Year
Fall SemesterCredits
College-based didactic course work:  
PA 535 Disease Mechanisms 4
PR 500 Theoretical Foundations of Cardiovascular Perfusion 2
PR 502 Systems Anatomy and Physiology I 3
PR 508 Extracorporeal Circuitry and Laboratory I 1
PR 516 Physiologic Monitoring 4
Spring Semester
PR 503 Systems Anatomy and Physiology II 3
PR 506 Pharmacologic Intervention in Cardiovascular Perfusion 4
PR 509 Extracorporeal Circuitry and Lab II 1
PR 510 Surgical Techniques 2
PR 512 Pediatric Perfusion 4
Second Year
Summer Semester
Hospital-based clinical training session:  
PR 600 Clinical Practicum I 5
PR 520 Research Methods in Cardiovascular Perfusion 2
Fall Semester
PR 602 Clinical Practicum II 5
PR 522 Research Methods in CV Perfusion II 2
Spring Semester
PR 604 Clinical Practicum III 5
PR 514 Special Topics in Cardiovascular Perfusion 2
 Total Credits49

During the first two didactic semesters, students are introduced to the operating room environment by weekly orientation sessions in one of several affiliated hospitals. Students are required to join the American Society of Extracorporeal Technology and maintain student membership for the duration of the program.

Failure to maintain a 3.0 minimum GPA in all didactic and clinical semesters will result in automatic dismissal from the program. Students must also successfully complete all clinical practicums to graduate from the program.

Additional course details
Explore descriptions, schedule and instructor information using the Course Finder tool.

Program Outcomes

To become a certified clinical perfusionist (CCP), graduates must pass the Perfusion Basic Sciences Exam (PBSE) and the Clinical Applications in Perfusion Exam (CAPE).

  • Graduates are eligible to take the PBSE when they have completed at least 75 procedures as a primary perfusionist, and have graduated from an accredited program.
  • To be eligible for the CAPE, graduates must perform an additional 50 procedures after their graduation date, usually as an employee of a hospital.

For more information on the certification exams:

Program outcomes



Positive placement – employed or pursuing further education



Perfusion Basic Science Exam (PBSE) pass rate



Clinical Applications of Perfusion Exam (CAPE) pass rate  




The Cardiovascular Perfusion Program is accredited by the Committee on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs (CAAHEP) through the Accreditation Committee – Perfusion Education (AC-PE)