The use of extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (ECMO) as a bridge to lung transplantation was reported for the first time more than three decades ago; nevertheless, its use in lung transplantation was largely abandoned because of poor patient survival and frequent complications. The outcomes of patients bridged to lung transplantation using ECMO have substantially improved in the last 5 years. Recent advances in extracorporeal life support technology now allow patients with end-stage lung disease to be successfully supported for prolonged periods of time, preventing the use of mechanical ventilation and facilitating physical rehabilitation and ambulation while the patients awaits lung transplantation. This review briefly describes the evolution of ECMO use in lung transplantation and summarizes the available technology and current approaches to provide ECMO support. Copyright © 2013 by the American Society for Artificial Internal.