Job Description

A cardiovascular perfusionist is responsible for operating what’s known as the heart-lung machine. This machine is used to keep blood circulating and oxygenating during cardiac surgery, and it’s meant to take the heart’s place if it needs to be stopped, or if the patient is undergoing a heart transplant. This job also requires people to analyze blood gas and consult with cardiologists in regard to a patient’s heart health.

Perfusionist Salary: National Average

According to the American Medical Association, cardiovascular perfusionists can expect a starting salary of $60-75,000. As time goes by, the average rises to between $70-90,000 with certified perfusionists closer to the high end. Those in high management positions can even see an annual salary of $110,000 on average.

Training in Cardiovascular Technology

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Cardiovascular perfusionists are considered allied health professionals. They’re primarily employed by hospitals as part of a open-heart surgical team and can also be hired by some cardiologists in private practice. Perfusionists in the United States are certified by the American Board of Cardiovascular Perfusion. To be certified, you have be employed, participate in at least 50 procedures and pass a board-certified exam.


The average salary can vary greatly from state to state. According to Payscale, perfusionists in Illinois can make between $96,650 and and $131,690 annually while those in Texas can make between $30,639-207,487. The closest state that matches the national average is Virginia with a pay range between $73,250 and $108,090.

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