To assess the value of positron emission tomography (PET) imaging with fluorine-18-deoxyglucose ([18F]FDG) in predicting cardiac wall motion recovery after revascularization, 48 consecutive patients with previous myocardial infarction were studied. The normalized [18F]FDG uptake at rest was assessed semiquantitatively and compared to perfusion at rest as studied by SPECT imaging. Wall motion was analyzed with echocardiography before and after revascularization. Wall motion recovery occurred in 27 (30%) of the revascularized 90 dysfunctional segments. Preserved [18F]FDG uptake (mean +/- 2 SD) was commonly found in dysfunctional segments, but only 54% of these segments recovered after revascularization. Subnormal [18F]FDG uptake identified accurately the segments with no potential to recover (predictive value 100%). By using an optimized threshold value for normalized [18F]FDG uptake, the sensitivity of 85% and specificity of 84% to predict functional recovery were reached simultaneously. However, in the segments with moderately or severely reduced perfusion at rest, the diagnostic accuracy of [18F]FDG uptake for viability was 100%. The results of this study show that the presence of viable tissue indicated by preserved [18F]FDG uptake does not inevitably imply functional recovery after revascularization. However, acceptable diagnostic accuracy for viability might be reached by [18F]FDG alone, providing that appropriate uptake limits are used. The combined evaluation of [18F]FDG uptake and perfusion enables precise assessment of myocardial viability.