An attempt was made to stratify risk of subsequent cardiac events in post-infarct patients according to a combination of the results of clinical assessment, routine diagnostic investigations, and pre-discharge exercise testing in 350 consecutive patients who were followed up for one year. Patients were classified prospectively on the basis of the extent of myocardial damage as assessed by peak enzyme release, reciprocal change on the electrocardiogram at the time of myocardial infarction, Norris prognostic index, ability to perform a pre-discharge exercise test (and test result), and ability to tolerate beta adrenergic blockade on discharge. Of the 50 patients with contraindications to pre-discharge exercise testing, 26% died or had reinfarctions compared with 9% of the 300 exercised patients; the 24 non-exercised patients with evidence of extensive myocardial damage or reciprocal changes on the electrocardiogram were particularly at risk. Similarly, among the 300 exercised patients, extensive myocardial damage, reciprocal change on the electrocardiogram, and ST depression on exercise testing were the major risk markers in that each identified at least 75% of the patients who had subsequent cardiac events. The 63 exercised patients who had all three of these major risk markers constituted a high risk group: 18 (29%) died or had reinfarction. Of the remaining 237 patients, only 9 (4%) had cardiac events. The 35 high risk patients with exercise induced angina pectoris or clinical contraindications to beta blockade were particularly at risk; 15 (43%) died or had reinfarction. This approach to risk stratification identified a small cohort of high risk patients in a large population of myocardial infarction survivors; it also identified a large group with a very low risk of subsequent cardiac events.