Background: The beneficial effect of on-site catheterization facilities on the survival of all patients with myocardial infarction complicated by cardiogenic shock has been questioned. Our objective was to evaluate the impact of the availability of on-site catheterization facilities on the outcome of unselected patients with cardiogenic shock. Methods and Results: We studied the hospital records of 70 consecutive patients with cardiogenic shock admitted to our intensive coronary care unit during 1990–1996, and compared two groups of patients: those admitted before (n = 34) and after (n = 36) the opening of our catheterization laboratory. Patients admitted when the catheterization laboratory was available were of similar age, but included fewer males and fewer patients with prior myocardial infarction. Following the activation of the catheterization laboratory, utilization rates of coronary angiography, percutaneous transluminal coronary angioplasty and intra-aortic balloon pump increased, compared with the previous period. However, there was no improvement in in-hospital (88 vs. 83%; p = 0.7) and 30-day mortality (91 vs. 86%; p = 0.7) before versus after the activation of our catheterization laboratory. Twelve patients selected to cardiac catheterization (9 underwent percutaneous transluminal coronary angioplasty) experienced lower in-hospital and 30-day mortality compared with patients who were not selected (58 vs. 96, and 67 vs. 96%, respectively; p < 0.02). Conclusions: Following the activation of the catheterization laboratory, the mortality of the entire population of cardiogenic shock patients remained relatively unchanged. Still, a small subgroup of these patients selected for urgent cardiac catheterization had a lower mortality compared with patients who were not selected.