Mitral and pulmonary venous flow velocity recordings are often used for the assessment of left ventricular diastolic function. These curves are, however, also influenced by other factors. To investigate whether mitral annulus motion carries additional information in this context, mitral annulus motion was compared to Doppler registrations of mitral and pulmonary flow velocities in 38 patients with heart failure (NYHA II-III) after myocardial infarction. Patients with an increased atrial contribution to mitral annulus motion (> 57%, n = 12) had a higher mitral late-to-early flow velocity ratio (A/E) and pulmonary systolic to diastolic filling ratio (< 0.01). Patients with atrial displacement above average for the group (> or = 5.1 mm, n = 19) had a higher mitral (A/E) ratio and pulmonary systolic to diastolic filling ratio than patients with a lower than average atrial component (P < 0.05). There was a significant correlation between a/T ratio and A/E ratio (r = 0.61, P < 0.001) and between pulmonary flow and transmitral flow (= 0.76, P < 0.001). We conclude that an increased atrial displacement of the mitral annulus is a frequent finding in patients with signs of left ventricular relaxation abnormality. There is a significant correlation between a/T ratio and A/E ratio but the information contained in the two indices are not identical.