Dilated cardiomyopathy (DCM) is widely accepted as a pluricausal or multifactorial disease. Because of the linkage between energy metabolism in the mitochondria and cardiac muscle contraction, it is reasonable to assume that mitochondrial abnormalities may be responsible for some forms of DCM. We analysed the whole mitochondrial genome in a series of 45 patients with DCM for alterations and compared the findings with those of 62 control subjects. A total of 458 sequence changes could be identified. These sequence changes were distributed among the whole mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA). An increased number of novel missense mutations could be detected nearly in all genes encoding for protein subunits in DCM patients. In genes coding for NADH dehydrogenase subunits the number of mtDNA mutations detected in patients with DCM was significantly increased (p < 0.05) compared with control subjects. Eight mutations were found to occur in conserved amino acids in the above species. The c.5973G > A (Ala-Trp) and the c.7042T > G (Val-Asp) mutations were located in highly conserved domains of the gene coding for cytochrome c oxidase subunit. Two tRNA mutations could be detected in the mtDNA of DCM patients alone. The T-C transition at nt 15,924 is connected with respiratory enzyme deficiency, mitochondrial myopathy, and cardiomyopathy. The c.16189T > C mutation in the D-loop region that is associated with susceptibility to DCM could be detected in 15.6% of patients as well as in 9.7% of controls. Thus, mutations altering the function of the enzyme subunits of the respiratory chain can be relevant for the pathogenesis of dilated cardiomyopathy.