About the Entry-Level MS Program

female perfusion student uses clamp on device in lab

The Cardiovascular Perfusion Program prepares its graduates to work as Certified Clinical Perfusionists (CCP) in a variety of health care settings where cardiopulmonary life support services are required. Perfusionists are typically employed in cardiac surgical centers and operate the heart-lung machine during open heart surgery. They serve as experts in associated technologies such as ventricular assist devices and are involved in all aspects of intraoperative blood conservation and management.

The Entry-level CVP program is a 22 month, 5 semester program covering 85 Credit Hours which teaches both theoretical knowledge and technical skills of Cardiovascular Perfusion. Students will spend 3 semesters on campus in didactic and simulation courses as well as time spent in interdisciplinary clinical observations. In the final 2 semesters of the program students will progress through 4 clinical rotations where they will complete live clinical cardiopulmonary bypass cases. Before graduation, students will have completed at least 75 clinical pump cases, 10 pediatric cases, and at least 5 Ventricular Assist Device or Extracorporeal Membrane Oxygenation cases. Graduates of the MUSC CVP program will be eligible and prepared to take the American Board of Cardiovascular Perfusion (ABCP) certification exam.

As a graduate of MUSC’s CVP program, you’ll become a highly-trained member of an open heart surgery team. Extensive knowledge of anatomy, pharmacology, pathology, and surgical techniques are keys to success. Perfusionists often specialize in areas of pediatric perfusion or ventricular assist devices and the MUSC Perfusion Program provides extensive experience in both of these areas.

The MUSC Perfusion Program was started in 1979 by James P. Dearing and is considered one of the best programs in the country. This is evidenced by high pass rates on the American Board of Cardiovascular Perfusion Certification Exam, a large number of research publications by the full-time faculty members, and a world class simulation facility for practicing perfusion techniques. In addition to clinical facilities at MUSC, students receive clinical experience at numerous nationally recognized cardiac surgical programs that serve as MUSC clinical affiliation sites.