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The aim of this study was to investigate the clinical picture and outcome of cardiogenic shock and to develop a risk prediction score for short-term mortality.The CardShock study was a multicentre, prospective, observational study conducted between 2010 and 2012. Patients with either acute coronary syndrome (ACS) or non-ACS aetiologies were enrolled within 6 h from detection of cardiogenic shock defined as severe hypotension with clinical signs of hypoperfusion and/or serum lactate >2 mmol/L despite fluid resuscitation (n = 219, mean age 67, 74% men). Data on clinical presentation, management, and biochemical variables were compared between different aetiologies of shock. Systolic blood pressure was on average 78 mmHg (standard deviation 14 mmHg) and mean arterial pressure 57 (11) mmHg. The most common cause (81%) was ACS (68% ST-elevation myocardial infarction and 8% mechanical complications); 94% underwent coronary angiography, of which 89% PCI. Main non-ACS aetiologies were severe chronic heart failure and valvular causes. In-hospital mortality was 37% (n = 80). ACS aetiology, age, previous myocardial infarction, prior coronary artery bypass, confusion, low LVEF, and blood lactate levels were independently associated with increased mortality. The CardShock risk Score including these variables and estimated glomerular filtration rate predicted in-hospital mortality well (area under the curve 0.85).Although most commonly due to ACS, other causes account for one-fifth of cases with shock. ACS is independently associated with in-hospital mortality. The CardShock risk Score, consisting of seven common variables, easily stratifies risk of short-term mortality. It might facilitate early decision-making in intensive care or guide patient selection in clinical trials.NCT01374867.