Because previous findings have been inconsistent, we explored the association of serum concentrations of uric acid with all-cause and cardiovascular disease mortality and myocardial infarction prospectively. We used data from 1,044 men who are members of the World Health Organization Monitoring Trends and Determinants in Cardiovascular Diseases (MONICA) Augsburg cohort. The men, 45-64 years of age in 1984-1985, were followed through 1992. There were 90 deaths, 44 of which were related to cardiovascular disease; 60 men developed incident nonfatal or fatal myocardial infarction. We estimated hazard rate ratios from Cox proportional hazard models. Uric acid levels > or =373 micromol/liter (fourth quartile) vs < or =319 micromol/liter (first and second quartile) independently predicted all-cause mortality [hazard rate ratio = 2.8; 95% confidence interval (CI) = 1.6-5.0] after adjustment for alcohol, total cholesterol/high-density lipoprotein cholesterol ratio, hypertension, use of diuretic drugs, smoking, body mass index, and education. The adjusted risk of cardiovascular disease mortality was 2.2 (95% CI = 1.0-4.8), and that of myocardial infarction was 1.7 (95% CI = 0.8-3.3). Although residual confounding cannot be excluded, our results are among the few, in men, demonstrating a strong positive association of elevated serum uric acid with all-cause mortality. Future investigations may be able to evaluate whether uric acid contributes independently to the development of cardiovascular disease or is simply a component of the atherogenic metabolic condition known as the insulin resistance syndrome.