Single breath-hold displacement data from the human heart were acquired with fast-DENSE (fast displacement encoding with stimulated echoes) during systolic contraction at 2.5 x 2.5 mm in-plane resolution. Encoding strengths of 0.86-1.60 mm/pi were utilized in order to extend the dynamic range of the phase measurements and minimize effects of physiologic and instrument noise. The noise level in strain measurements for both contraction and dilation corresponded to a strain value of 2.8%. In the human heart, strain analysis has sufficient resolution to reveal transmural variation across the left ventricular wall. Data processing required minimal user intervention and provided a rapid quantitative feedback. The intrinsic temporal integration of fast-DENSE achieves high accuracy at the expense of temporal resolution.