Peak exercise capacity (Peak VO2), neurohormonal changes, ventricular enlargement and ejection fraction are among the most important determinants of prognosis in congestive heart failure. However, the inter-relation between these parameters is unknown. We, therefore, correlated these indices in patients with hemodynamically severe congestive heart failure (NYHA class II, pulmonary artery wedge pressure 25 +/- 2 mm Hg, cardiac index 2.5 +/- 0.2 l/min/m2, ejection fraction 43 +/- 2% and fractional shortening 19 +/- 1%). Peak VO2 measured directly during exercise by breath to breath expiratory gas analysis using a metabolic cart was 23 ml/min/kg. Plasma epinephrine (E) and norepinephrine (NE) were measured by high performance liquid chromatography (HPLC) and plasma renin activity (PRA), aldosterone (Aldo), cortisol, prolactin, growth hormone, anti-diuretic hormone (ADH) and antinatriuretic peptide (ANP) by radioimmunoassay. Ejection fraction was measured by echocardiography. There was no relation between peak VO2 and any of the neurohormones E: r = -0.43, NE: r = -0.43, ANP: r = -0.49, Cortisol: r = -0.37, ADH: r = -0.07, Aldo: r = -0.45, 2 tail critical value 0.55. PRA showed a modest correlation (r = -0.61). Similarly, there was no relation between ejection fraction or degree of ventricular enlargement and any of the other indices (r = -0.05). We conclude that although peak VO2, neurohormonal profile and ventricular function are important individual prognostic determinants, there seems to be no direct relation between them.