Early revascularization following myocardial infarction (MI) is reported to have a high risk of extension of and hemorrhage into infarction with resulting high mortality and morbidity. To evaluate this issue, 80 post-MI patients (aged 32-74 years) with unstable angina pectoris resistant to maximal medical therapy were reviewed. All patients underwent early uncomplicated angiography and subsequent revascularization; 55 (69%) were less than 10 days post-MI, and 25 (31%) were 10-30 days post-MI. Intraaortic balloon pumping was required in 72% for relief of intractable angina or hemodynamic instability. Of the 80 patients, 19% had single vessel disease (VD), 31% double VD, and 50% triple VD. The mortality rate from coronary bypass surgery was 7/80 (8.8%), with four cardiac and three noncardiac deaths. Two patients suffered a perioperative MI (2.5%). At a mean follow-up period of 33 months, there had been only one late death and one recurrent nonfatal MI; 96% of the patients had no significant angina. In patients with continuing ischemia immediately after MI, myocardial revascularization can be safely performed without further injury to the myocardium, and with excellent long-term results.