Extracorporeal circulation: The technique of mechanically circulating the blood so the heart doesn't have to. The device used for ECC is called the heart-lung machine or the cardiopulmonary bypass circuit. This device drains the blue blood from the patient, places
oxygen in the blood, and returns (or pumps) the red blood back into the aorta for distribution to the whole body. To prevent clotting in the heart-lung circuit, strong anticoagulation with heparin is needed.