Previous studies showed that glucose-insulin-potassium (GIK) increases cardiac output in patients after cardiac surgery and improves segmental myocardial wall motion. We hypothesized that GIK improves regional wall motion, detects contractile reserve, and predicts functional recovery at follow-up to a similar extent as low-dose dobutamine (LDD) in patients with recent myocardial infarction. Forty-one patients underwent LDD and GIK echocardiography. Data were analyzed according to a 13-segment model. Segments were scored from 0 (normokinesia) to 2 (a-/dyskinesia). Wall motion score index was calculated for baseline and intervention. During GIK, wall motion score index improved from 0.60 +/- 0.25 to 0.39 +/- 0.20 (P < .0001) and from 0.58 +/- 0.25 to 0.39 +/- 0.21 (P < .0001) during LDD. Overall agreement between GIK and LDD echocardiography to detect contractile reserve (improvement of segmental function by >or= 1 point) was 93% with a kappa value of 0.88. Sensitivity, specificity, and positive and negative predictive values of GIK echocardiography to predict functional recovery at follow-up (mean time to follow-up, 13 months) were 74%, 84%, 85%, and 72% respectively, and values were similar to LDD echocardiography. Thus, GIK infusion improves regional left ventricular function and allows the detection of myocardial viability to a similar extent as LDD in patients shortly after infarction.