In patients after cardiac surgery, hypotension, defined as a mean arterial pressure less than 65 mmHg despite adequate filling pressures and positive inotropic medication, poses a problem. In addition, it is often difficult to determine whether these patients have suffered irreversible myocardial injury or if they are likely to recover. In this study, left and right ventricular function, as assessed by transesophageal echocardiography (TEE), was related to mortality both (1) quantitatively, using fractional area change (FAC), and (2) qualitatively, using a segmental wall motion analysis, which assigned a score to myocardial wall segments, in order to determine whether this technique can be used to predict survival. Mortality rate was very high in patients with biventricular and especially right ventricular failure (FAC less than 35%). Left and right ventricular wall motion abnormality indices were significantly better in survivors compared to nonsurvivors, but no distinct cut-off value could be determined. A wall motion index derived from only 6 segments at the mid-papillary muscle level was found to be as reliable as one based on 16 segments of the entire left ventricle. Thus, TEE provided information about the degree of left and right ventricular dysfunction by using a single cross-section at the papillary muscle level. It identified patients at high risk of death, ie, those with compromised right and biventricular function.