Cardiovascular Perfusion Program

The Profession of Cardiovascular Perfusion

Perfusionists may be employed in hospitals, by surgeons, and as employees of a group practice. They typically work during the week and are frequently on call for emergency procedures on weekends and nights. They also may work in an on-call system, depending on the number of perfusionists employed by their organization.

A perfusionist operates extracorporeal circulation and autotransfusion equipment during any medical situation where it is necessary to support or temporarily replace the patient’s circulatory or respiratory function. The perfusionist is knowledgeable concerning the variety of equipment available to perform extracorporeal circulation functions and is responsible, in consultation with the physician, for selecting the appropriate equipment and techniques to be used.

Perfusionists conduct extracorporeal circulation and ensure the safe management of physiologic functions by monitoring the necessary variables. This can be in the form of cardiopulmonary bypass as well as extracorporeal membrane oxygenation.  The perfusionist provides consultation to the physician in the selection of the appropriate equipment and techniques to be used during extracorporeal circulation.
During cardiopulmonary bypass, the perfusionist may administer blood products, anesthetic agents, or drugs through the extracorporeal circuit on prescription and/or appropriate protocol. The perfusionist is responsible for the monitoring of blood gases and the adequate anticoagulation of the patient, induction of hypothermia, hemodilution, and other duties, when prescribed.

On the business side of things, a Perfusionist may be administratively responsible for purchasing supplies and equipment, as well as for personnel and departmental management. Final medical responsibility for extracorporeal perfusion rests with the surgeon in charge.

Do I Qualify to Apply?

Admission to BSW THHs Cardiovascular Institute is a competitive process and a limited number of applicants are accepted each year. The student should demonstrate a dependable, mature demeanor and interact well with other people. The student should have a genuine desire to care for the disabled and sick, and have the ability to work well under pressure.

The application process is open to applicants who meet all of the following minimum criteria at the time of program commencement:

  1. 18 years of age 
  2. Completion of a baccalaureate degree from an accredited university or college
  3. Pre-requisite coursework: Completion with a grade of “C” or better
    1. Physics: Either Trigonometry based, or Calculus based; 3 hours
    2. Physics Lab: 1 hour
    3. Human Anatomy and Physiology: 8 hours
    4. Pre-Calculus/Trigonometry or higher; 3 hours
    5. Statistics: 3 hours
    6. General Chemistry: 6 hours
    7. General Chemistry Lab: 2 hours
    8. Biology: 6 hours
    9. Biology Lab: 2 hours
    10. Applied Sciences: 3 hours in one of the following:
      1. Biochemistry
      2. Organic Chemistry
      3. Cell Physiology
      4. Cell Biology
  4. Possess the physical and mental qualities required to work in this profession** 
  5. Proof of current immunizations and TB test*** 
  6. Cumulative GPA of at least 3.0 on a 4.0 scale
  7. Observations of 2 Cardiac cases from the Perfusion point of view
  8. Proof of U.S. Citizenship or permanent residency status
  9. Successful completion and submission of application
  10. Completion of Application Essay

** See "Physical, Interpersonal, Communication, Mobility, Tactical, Hearing and Visual Demands", page 39.
*** Immunizations must be current prior to school start.

Provide this list of immunizations to your Primary Care Provider (PCP):

      • 2 Mumps, measles, rubella (MMR) vaccines or positive titers
      • 2 Varicella (chicken pox) vaccines or positive titers (history of chicken pox is not acceptable)
      • Tetanus, diphtheria, pertussis (Tdap) given after age 18 years
      • Influenza (flu) only in flu season
      • Tuberculosis (TB) test (TST within last 3 months or Quantiferion within last 6 months)

Hepatitis B (Recommended, but not mandatory)

How Do I Apply?

Complete applications with all of the following items must be received by the school. Incomplete applications will not be processed.

  • Completed application form
  • $50 application fee
  • Current resumé
  • Two letters of reference (one work/professional and one personal)
  • Academic transcript (Official only)
  • Essay (see essay guidelines below)
  • Proof of Basic Life Support (BLS) certification (must be maintained throughout the term if accepted)

Application Essay Guidelines:

Your completed application must include an essay about your history and future goals in the field of cardiovascular technology. The essay must meet the following criteria:

  • Two pages
  • 12-point font
  • Double-spaced

Use the following questions as a framework for your essay:

  • Why do you want to pursue a career in cardiovascular technology?
  • How have your prior experiences prepared you for this career?
  • What specific qualities do you possess that set you part from other applicants?
  • Looking beyond graduation, what would you like to accomplish in this field?

How much does the program cost?

The total cost to the student for the Cardiovascular Perfusion Program is $25,000, plus a $50 application fee (non-refundable). Program tuition includes:

  • All administrative fees, lab fees, and required textbooks
  • BSW Dell Latitude laptop (Returned upon graduation)
  • 4 sets of student hospital scrubs


Altaf (Al) Panjwani MS, MBA, CCP, LCP

Program Director and Lead Instructor, Cardiovascular Perfusion Program
BSW THHs Cardiovascular Institute

Altaf (Al) Panjwani is the Program Director of the Cardiovascular Institute’s Perfusion Education Program. He will oversee day-to-day operations and be the lead instructor for the Perfusion Education Program. Mr. Panjwani has 15 years’ experience as a Perfusionist and will be working closely with Mr. Roberts Mr. Lione, and Dr. Dimaio to ensure the continued success of the Perfusion Education program.

He earned his Master of Science degree in Perfusion Technology from Northeastern University in Boston MA. Since graduation, Mr. Panjwani has worked as a Perfusionist for Emory Healthcare where he eventually became the Clinical Student Coordinator and Chief Perfusionist. With numerous research accolades and awards, Mr. Panjwani came to the Baylor Scott and White Heart Hospital three years ago with the goal in mind of helping to start a Perfusion Education Program.

Alessandro Lione MBA, CCP, RRT

Clinical Director and Instructor, Cardiovascular Perfusion Program
BSW THHs Cardiovascular Institute
Director of Surgical Services, Regional Director of Cardiovascular Perfusion BSW Health

Alessandro (Al) Lione, MBA, CCP, RRT is the Director of Surgical Services and Regional Director of Cardiovascular Perfusion for BSW Health. He started his career in healthcare with an Associate Science degree in respiratory therapy in 1994 from Jefferson College in Roanoke, VA. Not long after he received his B.S. in cardiovascular perfusion in 1997 from Barry University in Miami, FL. Lastly, he completed his Master of Business Administration from Averett University, Danville, VA in 2015. Mr. Lione will oversee the cardiovascular program at the administrative level for BSWH The Heart Hospital- Plano. He will work closely with Mr. Panjwani and Mr. Roberts to ensure the cardiovascular perfusion program has the necessary resources and personnel to be highly successful and considered one of the best education programs available.

Dr. Kelley Hutcheson, MD

Faculty and Instructor, Perfusion Education Program
BSW THHs Cardiovascular Institute

Contact Us

Altaf Panjwani MS, MBA, CCP, LCP
Phone: 469.814.3603

Cardiovascular Institute - Cardiovascular Perfusion Program
Baylor Scott & White The Heart Hospital - Plano
1100 Allied Drive, Stuite 5-504
Plano, TX 75093

Student Handbook

All students enrolled in the Cardiovascular Institute’s Adult Echocardiography Program will be expected to abide by all policies and procedures stated in the program’s Student Handbook & Catalog.