Left ventricular (LV) longitudinal shortening plays an important role in cardiac contraction and is invariably affected by the presence of coronary artery disease. Third-generation tissue velocity imaging (TVI) color-maps cardiac movement by obtaining mean velocities of LV segments from the same set of beats. The goals of this study were to characterize patterns of longitudinal myocardial motion velocity in healthy subjects and to use these patterns to evaluate abnormal segments of patients with myocardial infarction (MI). Included were 20 healthy subjects and 16 patients with MI who underwent a 2-dimensional Doppler echocardiography study. Myocardial velocity profiles were taken at the anulus, basal, mid, and apical segments of the septal and lateral walls in the apical view. Segmental velocity patterns from healthy subjects were compared with abnormal segments in patients with MI. Both lateral and septal walls of healthy subjects showed significant basal-apical myocardial velocity reductions in systolic shortening (Sm) and early and late diastolic lengthening (Em and Am) and a basal-apical increase in the Em/Am ratio. The lateral wall had greater Sm and Em velocities than the septal wall. The Sm and Em velocities and the Em/Am ratio were significantly reduced in the abnormal segments in patients with MI. Latent lateral wall ischemia may have been detected in 5 of 9 patients with septal infarction, showing reduced Sm velocity in apparently normal lateral walls. In conclusion, TVI objectively quantifies directional and incremental changes in myocardial movement that are useful in evaluating global and regional myocardial function, and it may play a role in the detection of early myocardial ischemia.