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extracorporeal (eks-tră-kor-por-iăl) adj. situated or occurring outside the body. e. circulation the circulation of the blood outside the body, as through a heart-lung machine or an artificial kidney (see haemodialysis). e. membrane oxygenation (ECMO) a rescue treatment for otherwise fatal respiratory failure in newborn babies or infants due to prematurity or overwhelming septicaemia. It involves prolonged cariopulmonary bypass to support gas exchange.