A method and apparatus to arrest or reverse heart damage from myocardial infarction by using a peripheral, femoral-femoral full bypass along with the venting of the left ventricle wherein the rate at which blood is drawn from the femoral vein and the rate at which the left ventricle is vented are related in a predetermined manner. The damaged area is treated with a cardioplegic solution; the blockage causing the heart attack is then removed by a thrombolytic solution or by angioplasty, while blood is prevented from entering the ventricle and from reactivating the heart from its at-rest condition. Normal blood flow is then restored, and the various catheters and bypass mechanisms removed. The system is also useful for peripheral cardiopulmonary bypass systems not involving the application of a cardioplegic solution. The catheters are specially designed for their function.