Extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (ECMO) is a form of life support used for babies, children and adults with life-threatening heart and/or lung problems.

ECMO provides time for the body to rest and recover by doing the work of the heart and lungs. This gives the patient time to rest and heal from the underlying illness.  

It is a modified form of heart-lung bypass and is used for a longer period than the machines used in the operating room during open-heart surgery.