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Auckland DHB Cardiothoracic and Vascular Intensive Care and High Dependency Unit

Public Service

Extracorporeal Membrane Oxygenation Therapy (ECMO)

The ECMO machine is similar to the heart-lung bypass machine but it is used outside the operating theatres.

The machine takes over the work of the heart and lung when the heart and lungs are so severely affected that they cannot function properly. The blood is pumped around an external circuit and through a membrane that removes carbon dioxide and adds oxygen, essentially acting like a lung. The aim of this therapy is to rest the body; it is not a treatment.

This page was last updated at 9:35AM on October 24, 2019.