This speciality is only associated with hospitals performing open heart surgery. The service is provided as part of an overall treatment package, and only within GOSH itself.
Perfusionists are responsible for setting up and running heart-lung machines, which are used to support children during open heart surgery.
We also set up and provide support for the ECMO(extra corporeal membrane oxygenation) machine, used to allow a child’s heart and lungs time to rest and recuperate during severe illness, and ventricular devices that may be used to support children with heart or lung problems who need longer term support.
Perfusionists also use and look after other machines including cell savers, blood gas machines, colloid osmotic pressure monitor, thromboelastograph, activated clotting time monitor and the intra-aortic balloon pump.
Each year, around 500 patients ranging in age from newly born to 16 years of age receive perfusion services at GOSH. This makes us one of the largest paediatric/neonatal perfusion teams in the country.
The team comprises of six perfusionists, and we have an active training programme with one trainee perfusionist.
A 24-hour on-call service is provided to cover any procedures that are carried out outside normal working hours or in an emergency.