Positron emission tomography (PET) can be used with nitrogen-13-ammonia (13NH3) to estimate regional myocardial blood flow, and with fluorine-18-deoxyglucose (18FDG) to measure exogenous glucose uptake by the myocardium. We used PET to predict whether preoperative abnormalities in left ventricular wall motion in 17 patients who underwent coronary-artery bypass surgery were reversible. The abnormalities were quantified by radionuclide or contrast angiography or both, before and after grafting. PET images were obtained preoperatively. Abnormal wall motion in regions in which PET images showed preserved glucose uptake was predicted to be reversible, whereas abnormal motion in regions with depressed glucose uptake was predicted to be irreversible. According to these criteria, abnormal contraction in 35 of 41 segments was correctly predicted to be reversible (85 percent predictive accuracy), and abnormal contraction in 4 of 26 regions was correctly predicted to be irreversible (92 percent predictive accuracy). In contrast, electrocardiograms showing pathological Q waves in the region of asynergy predicted irreversibility in only 43 percent of regions. We conclude that PET imaging with 13NH3 to assess blood flow and 18FDG to assess the metabolic viability of the myocardium is an accurate method of predicting potential reversibility of wall-motion abnormalities after surgical revascularization.