A 46-year-old woman with no major medical history presented to the emergency department with chest pain and evidence of anterior, anterolateral, and inferior ST-elevation myocardial infarction. Her condition quickly deteriorated into cardiogenic shock with ventricular arrhythmia. Despite revascularization of the left anterior descending artery and intravenous inotrope and antiarrhythmic therapy, her unstable hemodynamics and arrhythmias persisted. Early emergency initiation of venoarterial extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (ECMO) led to prompt hemodynamic and rhythm stability; however, adequate endogenous cardiac output did not ensue, and she was not able to be weaned from ECMO until hospital day 8. She subsequently recovered and continues to do well in the outpatient setting. This case demonstrates the remarkable hemodynamic and rhythm stability that early initiation of ECMO can provide in the setting of unstable myocardial infarction.
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