In patients with refractory cardiac arrest presumably from acute coronary occlusion, primary percutaneous coronary intervention (PPCI) may provide an opportunity for revascularisation and, subsequently, return of spontaneous circulation. We present our experience from a 24/7 primary percutaneous coronary intervention centre serving a population of approximately 800,000 individuals. A retrospective analysis was performed in patients with cardiac arrest treated from July 2011 to January 2014. Inclusion criteria were cardiac arrest and emergency coronary angiography performed during on-going external cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR). Course of treatment was analysed to outline the reasons for poor survival. Eight patients met the inclusion criteria; six (75 %) were male, and the mean age was 63 ± 16 years. Revascularisation under continuous cardiopulmonary resuscitation was achieved in all eight patients. Sustained return of spontaneous circulation was achieved in two patients (25 %). Both patients had poor neurological outcome (cerebral performance category 4), and both died within 3 months. We identified total duration of cardiopulmonary resuscitation (90.5 ± 33.3 min), lack of prehospital mechanical cardiopulmonary resuscitation devices and lack of extra-corporeal life support devices as the most likely reasons contributing to poor survival.