BACKGROUND: This study aimed to discribe the experience in supporting children with refractory cardiopulmonary failure with extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (ECMO). METHODS: We retrospectively reviewed 12 children with refractory cardiopulmonary failure supported with ECMO from February 2009 to August 2015 in the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit (PICU), Children’s Hospital, Zhejiang University School of Medicine. RESULTS: Seven of the 12 patients were weaned successfully from ECMO and dischaged from the hospital, with a survival rate of 58.3% (7/12). Among them, five patients had acute fulminant myocarditis (AFM). Complications during ECMO included hemorrhage, hemolysis, thrombosis, acute kidney injury, and secondary hematogenous infection. During 1-24 month follow-up, the seven surviving patients recovered with normal cardiopulmonary function. CONCLUSIONS: ECMO is useful for supporting children with refractory cardiopulmonary failure, especially for treatment of AFM.