Although elevations of plasma atrial natriuretic peptide (ANP) concentrations have been shown to have prognostic significance in patients after acute myocardial infarction (AMI), the relation between plasma levels of B-type natriuretic peptide (BNP) and cardiovascular mortality remains unknown. To test the prognostic value of plasma ANP and BNP after AMI, plasma concentrations were measured a mean of 3 days after infarction in 75 patients. During a median follow-up of 19.7 months, 14 patients (18.4%) died of cardiovascular causes. On univariate analysis, plasma ANP and BNP, Killip class, modified Peel index, left ventricular ejection fraction, and presence of left ventricular failure were all associated with cardiovascular mortality. In contrast, plasma ANP was the only variable that correlated with the development of symptomatic heart failure and hospitalization. For the combined end point of cardiovascular mortality, symptomatic heart failure, and hospitalization, plasma neurohormones were the only variables of predictive value. By stepwise regression analysis, plasma BNP was the only significant independent predictor of cardiovascular mortality (p = 0.001), whereas plasma ANP identified patients at risk of symptomatic heart failure and hospitalization (p = 0.002 and 0.019, respectively). This study indicates that plasma BNP measured after AMI is a powerful neurohormonal predictor of subsequent cardiovascular mortality, whereas plasma ANP correlates better with the development of symptomatic heart failure and hospitalization. Routine measurement of both of these peptides in the period immediately after an AMI may provide a simple means of risk stratification with different information gained from each peptide.