Conventional therapy for cardiogenic shock complicating acute myocardial infarction continues to be associated with a high in-hospital mortality rate. Hemodynamic support with new mechanical devices and emergency coronary revascularization may alter the long-term prognosis for patients with this complication. Between July 1985 and March 1990, 68 patients presented to the University of Michigan with acute myocardial infarction and cardiogenic shock. Interventions performed included thrombolytic therapy (46%), intraaortic balloon pump counterpulsation (70%), cardiac catheterization (86%), coronary angioplasty (73%), emergency coronary artery bypass grafting/ventricular septal defect repair (15%), Hemopump insertion (11%), percutaneous cardiopulmonary support (4%) and ventricular assist device (3%). The 30-day survival rate was significantly better in patients who had successful angioplasty of the infarct-related artery than in patients with failed angioplasty (61% vs. 7%, p = 0.002) or no attempt at angioplasty (61% vs. 14%, p = 0.003). This difference was maintained over the 1-year follow-up period. The only clinical variable that predicted survival was age less than 65 years. The early use of the new support devices in 10 patients was associated with death in 8 (80%), but this poor outcome may reflect a selection bias for an especially high risk population. Collectively, these recent data continue to suggest that emergency revascularization with angioplasty may reduce the mortality rate, but further study is required to define optimal utilization and integration of new support devices.