In 727 patients with acute myocardial infarction, different enzyme variables reflecting infarct size were related to the 5-year mortality rate. The maximum activity of serum heat-stable lactate dehydrogenase (LD), analyzed every 12 hours for 48 to 108 hours, was significantly associated with the 5-year mortality rate when patients with a first myocardial infarction were evaluated (p less than 0.001), and similarly (p less than 0.001) when patients with a previous myocardial infarction were included in the analyses. Very similar results were found when the maximum activity of aspartate aminotransferase (ASAT) analyzed once daily for 3 days was related to the mortality rate over 5 years, whereas the maximum activity of creatine kinase (CK) and CK subunit B analyzed every 6 hours for 48 hours in a subset of patients did not predict the outcome to the same extent. The results from LD and ASAT analyses clearly indicated that the association between infarct size and 5-year mortality rate was caused by the much higher mortality rate in patients with larger infarcts during the first year after onset of infarction, whereas after the first year, incidence of death appeared to be independent of the original infarct size. Thus we conclude that although a highly significant relationship between infarct size and overall 5-year survival was found, the mortality rate seemed to be higher in patients with larger infarcts, particularly during the first year after infarction.