To investigate enterovirus replication versus persistence in end-stage cardiac diseases, endomyocardial biopsies from explanted hearts of 70 patients with idiopathic dilated cardiomyopathy (IDCM), 64 patients with chronic coronary disease (CCD), and 45 donors of healthy hearts (controls) were examined by reverse transcriptase-polymerase chain reaction for genomic and antigenomic enterovirus RNA and by VP1 antigen immunohistochemistry. Enterovirus genome was detected in 25 of 70 patients with IDCM and in 21 of 64 patients with CCDs (35.7 vs. 32.8%, respectively; P=.12). Of the 46 patients positive for genomic RNA, only 3 exhibited antigenomic RNA and VP1 antigen that demonstrated active viral replication, whereas 43 had latent infection characterized by the absence of antigenomic RNA associated with or not with VP1 antigen expression. No viral component was detected in control subjects. The findings demonstrate that a small percentage of patients with end-stage chronic cardiac diseases had active enterovirus replication in their myocardium.