Left ventricular diastolic filling was characterized by transmitral pulsed-wave Doppler velocities in 62 patients with acute myocardial infarction, and diastolic filling variables were correlated with the presence of clinical heart failure. At the time of admission, 47 patients were free of heart failure and 15 patients were in Killip class II to IV. In the latter group of patients with heart failure, peak velocity of late filling wave caused by atrial contraction (A) was lower (0.48 versus 0.59 m/sec, p < 0.05), ratio of peak velocity of early rapid filling wave to peak velocity of late filling wave caused by atrial contraction (E/A) was higher (1.5 versus 1.1, p < 0.01), and deceleration time (136 versus 196 msec, p = 0.0001) was shorter when compared with the patients not in heart failure after acute myocardial infarction. Multivariate analysis showed that the deceleration time was a powerful independent predictor of presence of heart failure after controlling for systolic functional variables. Therefore, diastolic filling variables can complement systolic functional variables in the identification of the patients with postinfarction left ventricular failure.