In order to perform risk stratification, 195 consecutive, unse-lected patients with acute myocardial infarction (AMI) underwent independent echocardiographic and clinical evaluation of their left ventricular function by means of the wall motion index (WMI) and Killip classification 5 days after AMI. The patients were prospectively allocated to a low, medium or high risk class depending on WMI alone, and the 1-year mortality in these classes was 2, 34 and 37%, respectively (p < 0.0001). The 1-year mortality of the patients in Killip class I, II, or III and IV was 6, 26 and 48%, respectively (p < 0.00001). The number of patients allocated to the low risk group by means of WMI was 87, and the number of patients in Killip class I was 86. Since these groups were not identical, a total of 103 patients, i.e. 53% of the study population, could be identified as low risk patients regarding 1-year mortality 5 days after AMI, when WMI and Killip classification were used in combination. We conclude that the combination of echocardiographic and clinical evaluation of left ventricular function after AMI provides a strong and yet very simple procedure to identify low risk patients, which could be easily implemented in the routine work of coronary care units.