The clinical profile of 23 children with congestive cardiomyopathy was reviewed to detect any factors that might be predictive for their survival. Factors examined include age at onset (less than 2 versus greater than 2 years), gender, severity of the clinical picture including data from the chest radiograph, electrocardiogram (ECG), echocardiogram, hemodynamic study and endomyocardial biopsy. Follow-up study ranged from 1 month to 14 years (mean 43 months). There were 12 survivors and 11 nonsurvivors; the 1 year mortality rate was 30% (7 of 23), and the 5 year mortality rate was 44% (10 of 23). Age at onset, gender, cardiothoracic ratio on chest radiograph, pattern of infarction, ST-T changes or arrhythmia on ECG and left ventricular end-diastolic pressure were nonpredictive of outcome. However, low shortening fraction (mean 11.5% in nonsurvivors versus 20.9% in survivors, p less than 0.01), familial cardiomyopathy and endocardial fibroelastosis indicated a very poor prognosis.