In the specialized field of perfusion, perfusionists are required to assess, plan, and implement patient requirements. If necessary, perfusionists treat patients by assisting in cardiopulmonary bypass before, during, and after surgery by effective utilization of the heart/lung machine.

A certified, clinical perfusionist holds three primary responsibilities: management of cardiopulmonary bypass, performance with ancillary perfusion procedures, and management of all information within the operating room. By managing cardiopulmonary bypass, perfusionists will appropriately assess the patient's profile, while managing cardiopulmonary bypass. In regards to ancillary perfusion procedures, the perfusionist is expected to demonstrate competence and comprehensive knowledge of all ancillary procedures, as per departmental policy. A perfusionist is also expected to create and maintain accurate, complete, and legible records.

Perfusionists use appropriate equipment and supplies, based on the patient's age, condition, and recommended procedure, in which they monitor patient data. During procedures, perfusionists appropriately communicate with the open-heart team personnel. This requires facilitating discussions with the health care team, including: a medical record review, all decisions needed for prime selection, any drug and blood additives needed, the techniques used during cardiopulmonary bypass, and recognizing and resolving any variances or abnormal situations that may arise. As required by hospital policies, perfusionists utilize all available safety devices during cardiopulmonary bypass. They are expected to maintain appropriate clinical vigilance and awareness before, during, and after cardiopulmonary bypass.

Competence and comprehensive knowledge is required when using any cardiac assist devices, including VADs, ECMO, IABP, PCPS, left heart bypass, VV bypass for liver transplants, hyperthermic isolated limb perfusion, autotransfusion, and platelet gel processing. In keeping up with maintenance of machines, perfusionists are required to troubleshoot all devices. During surgery, they assess the patient's profile, manage ancillary procedures, and monitor patient data, while using the appropriate equipment. After assessing the patient data, perfusionists are expected to assess information gained, and recognize critical situations. They notify appropriate personnel, and assist as needed.

Perfusionists create timely documentation while maintaining patient confidentiality. They provide the hospital with concise and accurate shift reports, appropriate patient labeling, and the completion and filing of necessary paperwork. The perfusionists also communicates any product failures, technical failures, patient incidents, and significant issues to the charge staff, or per departmental policy.

All clinical perfusionists will have completed an accredited cardiovascular perfusion training program, and will hold certified ABCP certification, as well as certification in the state of which they are providing cardiopumonary services.