Experimental models of acute ischemic myocardial injury indicate that the inflammatory response after the ischemic event contributes to tissue damage. This is especially apparent with reperfusion of the ischemic tissue. In such models some therapeutic strategies designed to reduce neutrophil accumulation or function have resulted in apparently beneficial effects. Although such findings are encouraging, interventions into these pathological processes using specific molecular targets will require greater understanding of specific mechanisms. Current evidence indicates that potential sites of therapeutic intervention will be found in pathways leading to complement activation, generation of lipid-derived mediators, adhesion of neutrophils to endothelial cells and cardiac myocytes, and activation of neutrophil secretory processes releasing, for example, proteolytic enzymes and reactive oxygen. Understanding the dynamic interplay between the mediators, adhesion pathways, and secretory processes that results in myocardial damage will allow a rational approach to controlling the detrimental inflammatory consequences of ischemia and reperfusion.