UTHealth, Memorial Hermann offer cardiovascular perfusion training program
The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston (UTHealth) Medical School is offering a Cardiovascular Perfusion Training Program. This is the first such program affiliated with a medical school in Texas.
Applications are now being accepted for the inaugural class of the one-year post-baccalaureate program, which will begin Jan. 2, 2015.
Affiliated with the Center for Advanced Heart Failure at the Memorial Hermann Heart & Vascular Institute – Texas Medical Center, the program is directed by Kirti Patel and overseen by a multi-disciplinary committee that includes surgeons, cardiologists and certified perfusionists.
The mission of the UTHealth Medical School Cardiovascular Perfusion Training Program is to provide the highest quality of education and training in cardiovascular perfusion through an accredited post-baccalaureate certificate program that meets state licensing and national accrediting agency requirements.
“This is a unique program since the vast majority of perfusion programs are most often aligned with schools of allied health and cannot provide the kind of training environment, including the complexity of cases, that are available through the partnership between UTHealth and Memorial Hermann-TMC,” said Eric Solberg, M.A., associate vice president of academic and research affairs and associate dean at The University of Texas Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences at Houston.
“What makes this program distinctive is that our partnership with UTHealth and Memorial Hermann enables us to offer the most comprehensive perfusion education, all within our own centers,” Patel said. “Many perfusion programs utilize off-site, sometimes even out-of-state, locations in order to expose their students to clinical experience.”
A perfusionist is a certified medical technician responsible for operating the heart/lung machine during various types of cardiac surgical procedures and is responsible for:
• Setting up, operating and maintaining complex perfusion equipment
• Monitoring circulation
• Regulating the levels of oxygen and carbon dioxide in the blood
• Regulating the body temperature
• Measuring laboratory values (i.e., arterial/venous blood gases, clotting times)
• Administering medication and blood products through the bypass circuit (under the supervision and direction of the anesthesiologist and surgeon).
Perfusion trainees will develop much of their inpatient adult and pediatric clinical experiences at the Memorial Hermann-TMC Heart & Vascular Institute and Children’s Memorial Hermann Hospital. This nationally recognized environment will allow the program to produce specialists in heart transplant and advanced heart failure.
“Thanks to the great collaboration between UTHealth and Memorial Hermann, our perfusion trainees also will be exposed to LifeFlight, which provides a unique dimension offering intra-aortic balloon transports, ventricular assist devices, and ECMO to patients in the entire Texas Medical Center and beyond,” said Igor Banjac, director of perfusion services – chief perfusionist, Center for Advanced Heart Failure.
Perfusion is a specialty that is expected to grow in demand due to the growth of the aging population.
“Our program will allow us to graduate future perfusionists with the highest level of skills in all aspects of the profession. Additionally, we will produce graduates specialized in advanced heart failure, extracorporeal membrane oxygenation and ventricular assist devices,” Patel said.
The application deadline is Nov. 21, 2014. To access the program application and more information, please see the website: https://med.uth.edu/advancedheartfailure/cardiovascular-perfusion-program/