This study assessed the amount and prognostic value of myocardial viability in patients with non-Q-wave myocardial infarction (NQMI) and Q-wave myocardial infarction (QMI). A total of 175 patients with MI and an ejection fraction <= 45% underwent dobutamine stress echocardiography. On the basis of clinical criteria and myocardial viability, 110 patients were revascularized. The amount of viable myocardium and the clinical outcome were compared in the NQMI and QMI groups. Patients with NQMI exhibited a larger amount of viable myocardium compared with those with QMI. The mortality rate was 6% in patients with NQMI with viable myocardium and subsequent revascularization, 33% in patients with NQMI without viable myocardium or revascularization, 27% in patients with QMI with viable myocardium and subsequent revascularization, and 33% in patients with QMI without viable myocardium or revascularization. In conclusion, our data suggest that patients with NQMI and viable myocardium have the best prognosis after revascularization.