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Definition of Cardiopulmonary bypass

Cardiopulmonary bypass: Bypass of the heart and lungs (for example, during open-heart surgery). Blood returning to the heart is diverted through a heart-lung machine (a pump-oxygenator) before it is returned to the arterial circulation. The machine does the work of both the heart and the lungs, by pumping blood as well as supplying oxygen to red blood cells.

Source: MedTerms™ Medical Dictionary
http://www.medterms.com/script/main/art.asp?articlekey=2631
Last Editorial Review: 3/19/2012

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