If you or someone you love has every needed cardiac surgery and cardiopulmonary bypass

Chances are they needed blood from a blood banking facility. However, there has been a high demand for blood, causing healthcare professionals to seek alternative ways to decrease a patient’s exposure to homologous blood.

Blood Transfusions the Quality of Blood and Certification of Blood

Another option is perfusion. Here’s what you need to know about the risks of blood transfusion, quality of blood, certification of blood, and the International Board of Blood Management.

Blood Transfusions and Quality of Blood

Blood transfusions use various components of the blood-red or white blood cells, plasma, clotting factors, or platelets. Transfusions use one of two blood sources: autologous transfusion or allogeneic or homologous transfusion.

The former is your own blood while the latter is that of someone else. Autologous requires that the donor gives a good quality of blood during their donation process making sure it is disease-free.

What is Perfusion?

Perfusion, the transfer of blood to a network of capillaries located in biological tissue, is important to the healthcare industry and if not performed properly can be quite dangerous. Vital nutrients are carried by way of these vessels, and these same vessels collect waste and move it through the body’s system. Any interruption in this cycle can be alarming and require emergency treatment.

If this is the case, a patient’s perfusion is tested by applying pressure to the skin. Depending on how long it takes for the blood to “fill in” the imprinted area, the doctor may or may not be concerned.

Risks of Blood Transfusions

There are some well-known risks associated with blood transfusions, making perfusion a more favorable option.

The risks of blood transfusions include the following:

  • Infections due to blood transfusions
  • ABO-incompatible transfusion reactions
  • Increased risk of infection
  • Dissemination of malignant cells
  • Decreasing supplies of blood
  • High cost
  • Litigation

Because of these – and possible religious beliefs – some patients prefer perfusion.

Certification of Blood Perfusionists

When dealing with a delicate issue as perfusion, there are qualifications and certifications that need to be acquired for proper treatment. One such group provides certification of blood transfusions along with education regarding the quality of blood and the International Board of Blood Management.

This group is called the American Society of Extracorporeal Technology (AmSECT).

Founded in 1964, AmSECT set out to provide exceptional service to their industry with collaborative information while meeting the demand of blood for open-heart surgery.

As times changed and the field of medicine learned more, cardiac surgical procedures declined and the AmSECT began venturing into perioperative blood management, wound healing, ventricular assistance, and expanded uses of extracorporeal circulation.

Now, there are over 2,000 AmSECT members worldwide who advocate for the profession.

The International Board of Blood Management educates and promotes scientific principles to spread the safe and competent use of perioperative blood management.

According to AmSECT’s website, “The mission of AmSECT is to foster improved patient care by providing for the continuing education and professional needs of the extracorporeal circulation technology community.” Because of this growing field, formal certification of blood perfusion was put into place.

The AmSECT – in conjunction with the AABB – works for the safety of each procedure.

For over 20 years, the Perioperative Blood Management Taskforce has adhered to a recognition process of those who have undergone blood management training, examination, and certification.


Membership is available to those who opt to work in perfusion. AmSECT offers a community of peers as well as ongoing information regarding the latest in the field – technology, career opportunities, and ongoing education.

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