BACKGROUND: Angina pectoris accompanied by transient ST-segment changes during the in-hospital phase of acute myocardial infarction (AMI) is a well established marker of subsequent cardiac death and reinfarction. HYPOTHESIS: This study was undertaken to record the prognostic significance of angina pectoris experienced during the first month following discharge from AMI. METHODS: In all, 803 patients included in the placebo arm of the Danish Verapamil Infarction Trial II were followed up for 18 months in 20 coronary care units in Denmark. The patients were randomized to placebo and were still on study treatment 1 month after discharge. Of these patients, 311 (39%) reported chest pain during the first month following discharge. RESULTS: Patients with angina pectoris had a significantly increased risk of reinfarction [hazard 1.71; 95%-confidence limit (CL): 1.09, 2.69] and increased mortality risk which, however, only reached borderline statistical significance (hazard 1.52; 95%-CL: 0.96, 2.40). When patients were subdivided according to both angina pectoris and heart failure, those with one or both of these risk markers had significantly increased mortality (p 0.03) and reinfarction (p 0.02) rates compared with patients free of both angina pectoris and heart failure. CONCLUSION: Patients with postinfarction angina pectoris have a significantly increased morbidity risk.