A study of 102 patients consecutively admitted to a coronary care unit (CCU) investigated the clinical usefulness of three different immunoenzymometrical CKMB methods: NovoClone CK-MB, ICON QSR CKMB and IMx CK-MB. Blood samples were drawn on admission and then every 6 h for 48 h. The three different methods correlated very well (r = 0.93-0.96). With discrimination levels of 10 micrograms.l-1 for NovoClone CK-MB and 5 micrograms.l-1 for the other two methods, a sensitivity of 1.0 and a still acceptable specificity (> 0.81) were achieved. In the group of patients (n = 53) with suspicion of acute myocardial infarction (AMI) but with no standard criteria for AMI, 14 patients were identified with small but significant increase of serum CKMB (mass concentration) and an increased CKMB (mass concentration)/CK ratio. During a 4 year follow-up nine out of these 14 patients died within 2 years, the majority being coronary deaths, as compared to only two out of the remaining 39 non-AMI patients with suspicion of AMI but with normal CKMB values (chi 2 = 18.47, P < 0.001). The finding of such a high mortality rate among patients with increased CKMB (mass concentration) has an important prognostic value even in patients without standard criteria for AMI.