Acute ventricular septal rupture in the setting of acute myocardial infarction continues to present clinicians with a difficult therapeutic dilemma. The role of surgical intervention and its timing remains unresolved. A collaborative study from three institutions was undertaken to examine various clinical outcomes in 46 patients with ventricular septal rupture. No medically treated patient survived hospitalization. Since only surgically treated patients survived, we focused our evaluation on those characteristics that might differentiate surgical survivors from surgical nonsurvivors. Systolic blood pressure, pulse, mean right atrial pressure, left ventricular systolic pressure, and cardiopulmonary bypass time were univariate predictors of hospital survival. Multivariate analysis revealed that systolic blood pressure, right atrial pressure, and cardiopulmonary bypass time were strongly predictive of survival (p less than 0.05). In addition, taken together systolic blood pressure and right atrial pressure identified a group of persons who wee much more likely to survive surgical intervention. The results of this study may prove useful in predicting the risk of surgical repair in patients with ventricular septal rupture.