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American Board of Cardiovascular Perfusion
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Certification

Introduction

Certification in Clinical Perfusion is attained by achieving satisfactory performance on the American Board of Cardiovascular Perfusion's certification examination. The certification examination consists of two (2) parts:

  • Part I, the Perfusion Basic Science Examination (PBSE), is a 220-item, multiple choice examination designed to cover perfusion basic sciences and cardiopulmonary bypass.
  • Part II, the Clinical Applications in Perfusion Examination (CAPE), also follows a multiple choice format and covers a series of clinical scenarios, each with a series of questions. The number of items on the Part II examination may vary from 200 to 230, depending on the scenarios used.

Both the PBSE and the CAPE are given twice a year, in the spring and in the fall. Applicants meeting all requirements to take the PBSE and meeting all other criteria may also sit for the CAPE at the same examination site.

The examination is based on topics in the ABCP knowledge base. The eleven (11) major sections of the knowledge base are:

  1. Anatomy & Physiology
  2. Pharmacology
  3. Pathology
  4. Laboratory Analysis
  5. Quality Assurance
  6. Devices & Equipment
  1. Clinical Management
  2. Special Patient Groups
  3. Special Procedures/Special Techniques
  4. Catastrophic Events & Device Failure
  5. Monitoring


Questions used on the PBSE are designed primarily to test the examinee's knowledge of basic science as it applies to clinical perfusion. Questions used on the CAPE are designed to measure the examinee's understanding of the practice of clinical perfusion and the application of scientific knowledge therein. While questions relating to all eleven aspects of the knowledge base may be found on either examination, the emphasis is placed on understanding processes in the PBSE and on application of knowledge in the CAPE.


Perfusion Basic Science Examination (PBSE)

Eligibility Criteria

The criteria for application to take the PBSE are as follows:

  • Applicants must fulfill one (1) of the following criteria:
    • graduated from an acredited cardiovascular perfusion education program; or
    • currently enrolled in an accredited cardiovascular perfusion education program with an anticipated graduation prior to the date of the examination; or
    • admitted to the examination process before April 15, 1981; or
    • previously certified by the ABCP.
  • Applicants must have the following on file in the National Office at least four (4) weeks prior to the examination:
    • a current official transcript of credits from an accredited school of cardiovascular perfusion, indicating date of graduation;
    • a written statement of satisfactory clinical competency from the school's Clinical Competency Committee; and
    • documentation of a minimum of seventy-five (75) clinical perfusions (performed during the education program) that meet the following criteria:
      • The student participated in the preoperative planning and selection of equipment used during the perfusion.
      • The student performed those technical manipulations that constituted the essential parts of the procedure itself.
      • An instructor was physically present during perfusion procedures, and that instructor was a Certified Clinical Perfusionist.
      • Note: Observational pediatric cases do not count toward the seventy-five (75) minimum clinical perfusion requirement.

Application Procedure

Applicants must submit the following by July 1st for the fall examination and December 1st for the following spring examination:

  • a notarized PBSE application* completed in full; and
  • the PBSE application fee ($350.00).

Access (Form 1d) *PBSE application.

Applicants must also submit or arrange to submit the following items to the National Office at least four (4) weeks prior to the examination:

  • a Clinical Education Record* documenting seventy-five (75) clinical perfusions performed prior to graduation;
  • a current, official transcript of credits from an accredited school of perfusion, indicating date of graduation; and
  • a statement of satisfactory clinical competency from the Clinical Competency Committee chairperson at the accredited school of perfusion.

Access (Form 2d or 2w) *PBSE Case Record.

The PBSE may be taken an unlimited number of times.

Applicants retaking the PBSE are NOT required to resubmit or arrange for resubmission of items 1-3 (the Clinical Education Record, the official transcript and the Clinical Competency statement). These items will remain on file from the previous application.

All files MUST be complete at least four (4) weeks prior to the examination. Eligibility to reserve a seat with Prometric Testing Centers is contingent upon receipt of all documentation by the National Office.


Clinical Applications in Perfusion Examination (CAPE)

Eligibility Criteria

The criteria for application to take the CAPE are as follows:

  • Applicants must fulfill one (1) of the following criteria:
    • graduated from an acredited cardiovascular perfusion education program; or
    • currently enrolled in an accredited cardiovascular perfusion education program with an anticipated graduation prior to the date of the examination; or
    • admitted to the examination process before April 15, 1981; or
    • previously certified by the ABCP.
  • Applicants must have the following on file in the National Office at least four (4) weeks prior to the examination:
    • documentation showing that all requirements for the PBSE have been met; and
    • a clinical record itemizing forty (40) independent clinical perfusions after graduating from an accredited school of perfusion.
      [Cases must come from Table A- Primary Clinical Perfusion Activities (PCPA) below.]

Application Procedure

Applicants must submit each of the following by July 1st for the fall examination and December 1st for the following spring examination:

  • a notarized CAPE application* completed in full; and
  • the CAPE application fee ($350.00).

Access (Form 3d) *CAPE application.

Applicants must also submit or arrange to submit the following to the National Office at least four (4) weeks prior to the examination:

  • A completed case summary* documenting forty (40) independent clinical perfusions after graduation.
    [Cases must come from Table A- Primary Clinical Perfusion Activities (PCPA) below.]

Access (Form 4d or 4w) *CAPE Case Record.

The CAPE may be taken an unlimited number of times.

Applicants retaking the CAPE are NOT required to resubmit the case summary.

All files MUST be complete at least four (4) weeks prior to the examination. Eligibility to reserve a seat with Prometric Testing Centers is contingent upon receipt of all documentation by the National Office.


Table A- PCPA
Primary Clinical Perfusion Activities (PCPA)Clinical DefinitionCore Elements
1P
Cardiopulmonary Bypass (CPB), Primary
A Certified Clinical Perfusionist (CCP) who is the primary operator of the heart-lung machine used during cardiac surgery and other surgeries that require extracorporeal circulation, used to manage the patient's physiological status.Blood pump, reservoir, heat exchanger, oxygenator, extracorporeal circuit used accordingly with hemodynamic/lab value monitoring.
2P
Instructor CPA Bypass, Primary
A Certified Clinical Perfusionist (CCP) who serves as a clinical instructor to a student enrolled in an accredited perfusion program during primary clinical perfusion activities that require extracorporeal circulation, used to manage the patient's physiological status.Blood pump, reservoir, heat exchanger, oxygenator, extracorporeal circuit used accordingly with hemodynamic/ lab value monitoring. Primary clinical perfusion activities (PCPA) performed as clinical instructor in an accredited program are considered a primary perfusion activity and will receive full case credit. During clinical instruction in which the student is operating extracorporeal circulation equipment, there must be direct one-to-one supervision by the clinical instructor. Students may also receive credit toward certification eligibility for the same case.
3P
Extra-Corporeal Membrane Oxygenation (ECMO), Primary
A Certified Clinical Perfusionist (CCP) who is the primary operator of Extra-Corporeal Membrane Oxygenation (ECMO) circuit that provides life support for respiratory and/or cardiac failure.Extracorporeal circuit, oxygenator, heat exchanger used accordingly with hemodynamic/lab value monitoring. For each ECMO case, one (1) case credit per twenty-four (24) hours will be awarded for initiating and bedside managing ECMO (4-hour minimum) or bedside managing (6-hour minimum). No simultaneous credit will be awarded for managing multiple ECMO patients in this time period.
4P
Isolated Limb/Organ Perfusion, Primary
A Certified Clinical Perfusionist (CCP), who is the primary operator of an extracorporeal device used to deliver anticancer drugs directly to an arm, leg, or organ that manages the patient's physiological status.Reservoir, blood pump, heat exchanger, oxygenator, extracorporeal circuit used accordingly with hemodynamic, temperature and lab value monitoring.
5P
Veno-Venous or Left Heart Bypass, Primary
A Certified Clinical Perfusionist (CCP) who is the primary operator of an extracorporeal device, used to perfuse specific vascular regions within the circulatory system.Blood pump, extracorporeal circuit used accordingly with hemodynamic/lab value monitoring.
6P
Ventricular Assist Device (VAD), Primary
A Certified Clinical Perfusionist (CCP) who is the primary operator of the Ventricular Assist Device (VAD) that provides cardiac support for the failing heart.For each VAD case, one (1) case credit per twenty-four (24) hours will be awarded for initiating and managing VAD or bedside managing (6-hour minimum). No simultaneous credit will be awarded for managing multiple VAD patients in this time period.


Completion of Examination Process

Computer-Based Examination

The Perfusion Basic Science Examination (PBSE) and the Clinical Applications in Perfusion Examination (CAPE) are administered at Prometric testing facilities located throughout the United States, U.S. Territories and Canada. Upon approval for examination by the ABCP, candidates register online with Prometric to take the ABCP examinations at a convenient test site. Information for registration with Prometric is provided to candidates after their application and acceptance for examination by the ABCP.

Applicants must present a valid, non-expired government-issued picture identification with a signature (e.g. photo driver's license or passport) for entrance to the examination. No other entrance documents are needed. Learn more

Learn more about practice sessions for the PBSE and CAPE provided by Prometric.

Examination Guidebook

The guidebook for the examination process is provided to applicants at no cost. All others may purchase the guidebook for the examination process from the National Office for a $10.00 fee.

Foreign Applicants

Foreign applicants must meet the same requirements for certification as all other applicants.

Application Deadlines

Applications must be sent by certified mail, return receipt requested, to the National Office and must be postmarked no later than July 1st for the fall examination or December 1st for the following spring examination.

Certification Fee Schedule

  • For those applicants never certified, the fee is $350.00 for each portion of the examination.
  • For reinstatement of certification, the fee is $350.00 for any portion of the examination plus a $250.00 Reinstatement fee.

The Reinstatement fee is a one-time charge for any applicant until reinstatement is accomplished or abandoned.

NO REFUNDS WILL BE GIVEN.

Late Filing Fee

Individuals submitting applications for either portion of the certification examination, up to thirty (30) days following the deadline, will be assessed a $75.00 Late Filing fee.

Scoring

Scoring for each part of the examination is criterion-referenced with the cutoff score determined by summation of Ebel weightings of each item used in the examination. Item Response Theory modeling is used to equate the scores of various forms of each examination.

Awarding of Certification

Each applicant must pass both the Perfusion Basic Science Examination (PBSE) and the Clinical Applications in Perfusion Examination (CAPE) in order to obtain certification. A listing of all current Certified Clinical Perfusionists is available on the ABCP website.

Access a current listing of Certified Clinical Perfusionists.