From the standpoint of physiology , perfusion is the mechanism by which the body’s cells and their corresponding organs are fed with oxygen and nutrients. Thus, it allows the cell to function correctly.
In humans, the transport of oxygen and nutrients is carried out through the blood to the arteries and then to the capillaries. Thus, medicine usually speaks of two types of it: cerebral and pulmonary. Both the brain and the lungs are fed by the circulating blood and this is possible thanks to perfusion.
The blood that travels through the brain has a specific flow, known as cerebral blood flow or FSC. For this to be possible, there must be a certain pressure, known as cerebral perfusion pressure or PPC. This pressure is directly related to blood pressure and intracranial pressure.
The human brain tolerates changes in blood pressure within certain limits. Thus, if cerebral perfusion decreases, cerebral vasodilation occurs and when cerebral perfusion increases, the effect is opposite, vasoconstriction occurs.
For the lungs to function properly, there must be a balance between perfusion and ventilation. It contributes to the blood supply that reaches the lungs to mobilize oxygen intake.
Ventilation is the process by which air moves through the atmosphere to the lungs and vice versa; all of this generates a gas exchange. Therefore, there is a close relationship between perfusion and pulmonary ventilation.
In recent years, artificial pulmonary perfusion techniques have been introduced
This system allows the performance of lung transplants. It is to run the lungs as if they were already deployed in the person receiving.
To make this possible, an ex vivo pulmonary perfusion machine is used, where this machine allows the lungs to be kept alive, a technique that has saved many lives. More particularly, ex vivo perfusion is effective in people with chronic pulmonary obstruction who need a lung transplant.
The role of the perfusionist as a health professional
The health specialist who deals with perfusion is known as a perfusionist, a specialty that plays a key role in some surgical procedures, for example, those performed with an open heart. The function of this professional is to control and monitor the levels of blood passing through the heart and lungs.