Sixteen patients with acute myocardial infarction were subjects of a study of the changes in plasma magnesium and long-chain free fatty acid (FFA) levels. In each patient, there was a sharp fall of magnesium levels and a sharp rise of FFA levels shortly after onset of pain. Magnesium and FFA values returned to normal within three days. An absolute fall in total magnesium level and a probable fall in magnesium ion concentration could be important factors in arrhythmias during the first two days. The simultaneous rise in FFA and fall in magnesium levels in a variety of pathologic and physiologic conditions affords an explanation for divergent changes in FFA and magnesium concentrations in acute myocardial infarction. The FFA rise appears to be the fall in magnesium levels, which has been previously unexplained.