An increase in oxidative stress is thought to be involved in the progression of heart disease, but the serum level of thioredoxin (TRX), which regulates the cellular redox state, has not been investigated in patients with heart diseases. The present study determined serum TRX levels with a sandwich enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay in a total of 39 patients with dilated cardiomyopathy (DCM) (n=5), acute coronary syndrome (ACS) (n=7) or stable angina (n=18), including effort angina (n=7) and vasospastic angina (n=11), and in control subjects (n=7). The serum TRX level in patients with New York Heart Association (NYHA) functional classes III and IV (n=8, 33.3+/-8.6 ng/ml) was significantly higher than in the control subjects (n=7, 14.0+/-4.6 ng/ml). In addition, the serum TRX levels correlated positively with the severity of NYHA class, and negatively with the left ventricular ejection fraction. The serum TRX levels were elevated in patients with ACS and DCM compared with the controls. These results indicate a possible association between TRX concentration and the severity of heart failure.