This study was designed to determine prognostic risk indicators of nonischemic dilated cardiomyopathy (DC). Sixty-nine patients were studied. Each patient underwent physical examination (including a history), electrocardiography, echocardiography, cardiac catheterization, 24-hour monitoring and endomyocardial biopsy. The mortality rate at 1 year was 35% (24 deaths). Univariate analysis revealed that the most powerful predictor of prognosis was the left intraventricular conduction delay (p = 0.003). The pulmonary capillary wedge pressure was also predictive of mortality (p = 0.005). Other significant factors, in order of importance, were ventricular arrhythmias (p = 0.007), mean right atrial pressure (p = 0.008), angiographic ejection fraction (p = 0.03), atrial fibrillation or flutter (p = 0.01) and the presence of an S3 gallop (p = 0.05). Factors such as duration of symptoms, presence of mitral regurgitation, end-diastolic diameter, myocardial cell size and percent fibrosis in the biopsy and treatment with vasodilators, antiarrhythmic and anticoagulant drugs were not significant predictors. Multivariate analysis was used to determine which combination of factors could most accurately predict survival and death. The most important factors were left conduction delay, ventricular arrhythmias and mean right atrial pressure. An equation was derived that can be applied to the prognosis of patients with DC. Thus, the clinical assessment of patients with DC can accurately predict the probability of surviving or dying in 1 year.