Improvement in left ventricular (LV) function in patients with idiopathic dilated cardiomyopathy (DCM) by medical treatment has been suggested. Thus, it is important to evaluate which patients will respond to medical therapy. Positron emission tomography (PET) with fluorine-18 fluoro-2-deoxyglucose (FDG) and cardiac catheterization were performed in 20 patients with DCM before the initiation of medical therapy. The regional myocardial glucose utilization rate (rMGU) was measured with FDG PET. Subjects were divided into two groups, group 1 (event-free patients, n=10) and group 2 (clinical cardiac events, n=10). Haemodynamic and PET parameters before the initiation of medication were compared between the two groups and between patients with and patients without improvement in LV function. Ejection fraction (EF) was significantly higher in group 1 (35.8%+/-9.0%) than in group 2 (24.8%+/-7.0%) and LV end-diastolic pressure (LVEDP) was significantly lower in group 1 (8.4+/-1.7 mmHg) than in group 2 (11.6+/-3.5 mmHg). Average rMGU (mg min-1 100 g-1) was similar in group 1 (11.2+/-2.5 mg min-1 100 g-1) and group 2 (11.2+/-2.9 mg min-1 100 g-1), while %CV of rMGU was significantly lower in group 1 (11.1%+/-6.3%) than in group 2 (29. 9%+/-13.9%, P<0.01). Furthermore, LV function normalized in seven patients in group 1. In these seven patients, EF (35.1%+/-10.9%), LVEDP (8.2+/-2.0 mmHg) and average rMGU (11.8+/-2.7 mg min-1 100 g-1) were comparable with those in patients without LV functional improvement (EF: 31.6%+/-9.1%; LVEDP: 10.7+/-3.3 mmHg; average rMGU: 10.8+/- 2.7 mg min-1 100 g-1). However,% CV of rMGU in patients with LV functional improvement (9.6%+/-5.6%) was significantly lower than in those without such improvement (26.3%+/-14.1%, P<0.01). %CV of rMGU <13.6% predicted prognosis with a sensitivity of 80%, a specificity of 100% and an accuracy of 90%. %CV of rMGU <13.6% also predicted improvement in LV function, with a sensitivity of 75%, a specificity of 92% and an accuracy of 85%. However, EF failed to predict improvement of LV function. In is concluded that homogeneous myocardial glucose utilization rate can predict both prognosis and improvement in LV function achieved by medical therapy in patients with DCM.