Extracorporeal life support (ECLS) provides mechanical support following cardiac surgery when respiratory and cardiac failure occurs. We retrospectively reviewed medical records of patients who needed ECLS at a new congenital heart center in Turkey. Between December 2009 and February 2012, 616 congenital heart operations were performed. A total of 13 patients (seven female) underwent ECLS. The ages of the patients ranged between 16 days and 33 years. There were two neonatal, seven infant, three pediatric, and one adult congenital cases. Medos DPII ECLS system was used in all patients. Mean duration of ECLS was 6.2+/-5.8 days (ranged from 29 h to 24 days). While central vascular access with aorta and right atrial cannulation was used in 11 patients, neck vessels were used in the other patients. Four patients (30.7%) weaned successfully from ECLS (two infant, two pediatric cases). Three of them had ECLS intraoperatively. In all patients, two (15.4%) were discharged from the hospital. One of them had mild neurologic deficit. Bleeding from the surgical and cannulation sites was the most common complication. Thrombus was detected in pump head and changed uneventfully in three patients. Arterial pH and lactate levels at the beginning of ECLS were significantly lower in patients who were successfully weaned from ECLS than nonsurvivors (P = 0.04 and P = 0.02, respectively). ECLS can be a lifesaving modality in the perioperative period. It may be more beneficial if ECLS is used before the development of severe acidosis and high lactate levels.