The cardiopulmonary support system is an extracorporeal device that allows for rapid cardiopulmonary support of the critically ill patient in the intensive care unit. It provides immediate and complete support of cardiac and pulmonary functions to maintain perfusion to vital organs in patients who are severely physiologically compromised (eg, in cardiogenic shock, adult respiratory distress syndrome or pulmonary edema). Successful cardiopulmonary support requires systemic anticoagulation, percutaneous venous and arterial cannulation and careful monitoring by the critical care team to maintain adequate tissue perfusion and oxygenation. Although patient mortality can occur secondary to bleeding, embolism or sepsis, this technique provides life-sustaining circulatory and respiratory support until definitive treatment can be initiated.

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