There has been no report regarding therapy of extracorporeal life support (ECLS) that showed stunned myocardium echocardiographically and electrocardiographically in patients with acute myocardial infarction. ECLS was performed in eight patients with cardiogenic shock or arrest unresponsive to catecholamines and intra-aortic balloon pumping following myocardial infarction; these patients required prolonged external cardiac massage. After the initiation of ECLS, both blood pressure and metabolic acidosis improved in all patients. Four of eight patients were weaned from ECLS after a mean of 69.3 h, which was far longer than previously reported in patients with ischemic heart disease. Three of these patients survived, and cardiac function recovered to NYHA class II in two of the survivors and class III in the other. The other five patients did not recover from coma during ECLS and died. A marked improvement of ventricular wall motion was seen in two survivors with the disappearance of pathologic Q waves after the initiation of ECLS. No occlusion of the coronary arteries or bypass grafts was observed in any of the survivors. These findings suggested the existence of stunned myocardium with myocardial reperfusion. The recovery of stunned myocardium may be delayed for days or even weeks, hence the extended period of ECLS therapy was theoretically justifiable. We conclude that long-term ECLS is a useful therapeutic method for patients with severe cardiogenic shock that is related to stunned myocardium.