extracorporeal life support


Medical Definition of extracorporeal life support

: life support used when a patient is experiencing cardiac or pulmonary failure unresponsive to conventional therapies (such as mechanical ventilation) that typically involves the continuous extracorporeal oxygenation of blood pumped from the body especially : extracorporeal membrane oxygenation Extracorporeal life support (ECLS, also known as extracorporeal membrane oxygenation) is the use of a modified heart-lung machine for days or weeks to support life and permit treatment and recovery during severe cardiac or pulmonary failure.— Robert H. Bartlett et al., The Journal of the American Medical Association, 16 Feb. 2000 abbreviation ECLS

Learn More about extracorporeal life support

Cite this Entry

“Extracorporeal life support.” Merriam-Webster.com Medical Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/medical/extracorporeal%20life%20support. Accessed 9 Aug. 2020.

Comments on extracorporeal life support

What made you want to look up extracorporeal life support? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


Test Your Vocabulary

Original Meanings Quiz

  • rembrandt painting a young scholar and his tutor
  • Which of the following is the earliest known sense of the word awe?
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

Dictionary Devil

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!