During the past century, medical technology has evolved to enhance quality and quantity of life. Medications, surgeries, and implantable devices have been developed and enhanced to reduce complications and improve patient outcomes. The use of extracorporeal membrane oxygenation is one of the most substantial advances in life-saving modalities. Extracorporeal membrane oxygenation has been widely used for patients with heart or lung failure across the lifespan. Expansion and simplifications of extracorporeal membrane oxygenation circuit designs have informed changes in patient treatment (from bed confinement to ambulatory) and shifted many clinical staffing structures (from cardiovascular perfusionist to nurse-managed care). Highly skilled registered nurses and advanced practice registered nurses are increasingly involved in managing extracorporeal membrane oxygenation in the critical care setting. The purpose of this article is to highlight the technological evolution of extracorporeal membrane oxygenation and the corresponding patient care that bedside registered nurses and advanced practice registered nurses provide.

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