Circulatory support (range, 2 hours-8 days) was undertaken in eight cardiac surgical patients (with two survivors) exhibiting intractable cardiogenic shock. A paracorporeal, pneumatic, xenograft-valve pump was interposed between the left ventricular apex and ascending aorta. Pumping lowered left atrial and ventricular pressure while maintaining cardiac output (1.8-2.6 I/min/M2). Following implantation, plasma hemoglobin and erythrocyte mechanical fragility values were elevated but decreased to normal when renal function was not impaired. Mild thrombocytopenia was noted in three patients and was severe in five others with persistent hemorrhage. Anticoagulation agents were used during tapering of pump flow (three patients) after 100, 105 and 120 hours of bypass. Otherwise, for the major portion of the interval of mechanical circulatory support, anticoagulants were not administered. Despite this fact, no systemic embolization was detected in any of the patients. It appears that assist pump support can be life-saving in acute left ventricular failure in patients following cardiac surgery.