It was previously shown in a canine model of ischemia/reperfusion injury that the partition coefficient of gadolinium-diethylene triamine pentaacetic acid (Gd-DTPA) (lambda) increases in infarcted tissue. That previous study used a non-magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) method to measure lambda and only investigated reperfusion times from 2 hr to 3 weeks. This study presents evidence suggesting that lambda starts to increase as early as 1 min after reperfusion of a 2 hr occlusion and continues to rise for up to 2 hr or more; lambda stays increased as late as 8 weeks, reaching peak values at 1-11 days and subsequently decreasing. It was also demonstrated that lambda can be accurately measured in vivo using a saturation recovery turbo fast low-angle shot (FLASH) sequence. The results of this study show that MRI during a constant infusion of Gd-DTPA has great potential for the non-invasive determination of myocardial viability as early as 1 min to as late as 8 weeks following reperfusion of acute myocardial infarction.