Cardiogenic shock remains the major cause of death among patients with all types of acute coronary syndromes. Thus, there is a growing interest in the identification of patients who are at risk for developing cardiogenic shock, in the exploration of different therapeutic approaches to preventing its development, and in the improvement of outcome when it occurs. This article reviews the aetiology and pathophysiology of cardiogenic shock, its epidemiology, its treatment (including pharmaceutical agents, counterpulsation, and revascularisation), and its outcome. Algorithms are presented that predict its occurrence in both ST-segment-elevation myocardial infarction and unstable angina or non-ST-elevation myocardial infarction, and that predict its mortality in patients with ST-segment-elevation acute myocardial infarction. Such new areas as metabolic therapy and glycoprotein IIb/IIIa inhibitors are discussed, as are the economic implications of shock.