Dobutamine stress echocardiography (DSE) is widely used to predict reversible left ventricular dysfunction, but evaluation by this method is subjective. The recently developed color tissue Doppler imaging (TDI) M-mode may permit objective and quantitative assessment of changes in wall motion induced by DSE. We tested the hypothesis that this new method can detect sensitively reversible dysfunction in the post-myocardial infarction setting. DSE with color TDI M-mode and conventional DSE were performed to predict reversible dysfunction in 53 patients at a mean of 3 days after infarction using 7.5 and 10 microg/kg/min of dobutamine. Follow-up regular echocardiography (4 weeks later) was used as the reference technique to define reversible dysfunction segments. To predict reversible dysfunction segments, the standard segmental wall motion score change on conventional DSE and the ratio of the segmental wall velocity difference at rest versus stress (7.5 and 10 microg/kg/ min) on DSE with color TDI M-mode (7.5-TDI-M and 10-TDI-M, respectively) were used. With 7.5 microg/kg/min of dobutamine, the sensitivity for predicting reversible dysfunction using color TDI M-mode (7.5-TDI-M) was significantly higher than that of conventional DSE (89% vs 73%, p <0.05) whereas specificities and predictive values were almost identical. With a 10-microg/kg/min dose, color TDI-M mode (10-TDI-M) and conventional DSE were not significantly different in predicting reversible dysfunction. With use of color TDI-M mode, regional wall motion during DSE was analyzed objectively and quantitatively. Moreover, combined TDI-M and conventional data were slightly superior to either mode alone. There were no arrhythmias during 7.5 microg/kg/min of dobutamine, but 9 arrhythmias occurred during the 10-microg/kg/min dose in patients with acute myocardial infarction. In conclusion, color TDI M-mode permits objective and quantitative assessment of regional ventricular wall motion and gives additional information for detecting reversible dysfunction in DSE. Improvement of sensitivity at a lower dose of dobutamine with color TDI-M mode may increase the safety of DSE in the post-myocardial infarction setting.