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Definition of Life support

  • Medical Author:
    William C. Shiel Jr., MD, FACP, FACR

    Dr. Shiel received a Bachelor of Science degree with honors from the University of Notre Dame. There he was involved in research in radiation biology and received the Huisking Scholarship. After graduating from St. Louis University School of Medicine, he completed his Internal Medicine residency and Rheumatology fellowship at the University of California, Irvine. He is board-certified in Internal Medicine and Rheumatology.

Life support: 1. A therapy or device designed to preserve someone's life when an essential bodily system is not doing so. Life support may, for example, involve enteric feeding (by a tube), total parenteral nutrition, mechanical ventilation, a pacemaker, defibrillator, heart/lung machine, or dialysis.
2. Something that sustains life, as in "The earth is the ultimate life support system."
3. A product, program or company being propped up, as in "Medicare is on life support."

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Reviewed on 12/21/2018

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