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Extracorporeal Membrane Oxygenation (ECMO) Service: Adult

Published on 21 April 2022

The adult Extracorporeal Membrane Oxygenation (ECMO) Service is based within the Royal Infirmary Hospital in Aberdeen. ECMO provides temporary life support to adults with severe respiratory failure, while allowing the lungs to rest and recover from injury.

What is extra-corporeal life support?

Extra-corporeal life support uses extra-corporeal membrane oxygenation (ECMO), a supportive intensive care technique offered to adults who develop acute but potentially reversible respiratory failure.

An ECMO machine is similar to a heart-lung bypass machine used for open heart surgery. Extra corporeal means ‘outside the body’ and membrane oxygenation means that the blood has oxygen added to it via a membrane, or 'artificial lung'. ECMO continuously circulates blood from the patient through an artificial lung, which adds oxygen to the blood and removes waste carbon dioxide, before returning it to, and circulating it around the patient's body.

Lead clinician

  • Mr Ian Scott, Critical Care Consultant
  • Mr Stephen Friar, Critical Care Consultant


Aberdeen Royal Infirmary
Foresterhill Road
AB25 2ZN

NSD contact

NSD Specialist Services

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