OBJECTIVES: To examine the appearance and resolution of left ventricular thrombi and to study the relation between thrombus and mortality during long term follow up after anterior myocardial infarction. DESIGN: Ninety nine consecutive patients were prospectively studied until the last included patient had been followed for one year. Streptokinase and aspirin were used routinely, anticoagulants only after a decision by the attending physician. Echocardiography was performed within 3 d of admission, before discharge, and after one, three, and 12 months. SETTING: Umeå University Hospital, a teaching hospital in Northern Sweden. MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES: Left ventricular thrombus, segmental myocardial function, and mortality during follow up. RESULTS: Thirty patients (30%) had a thrombus on discharge. One month, three months, and 12 months after hospital discharge, the thrombus had resolved in 81%, 84%, and 90% of the patients, respectively. The proportion of resolved thrombi at one month was high irrespective of whether anticoagulants were given (10/11, 91%) or not (12/16, 75%), P = 0.4. New thrombi appeared in 12 patients after discharge and resolution and reapperance of thrombi continued during the follow up period. Patients who developed a thrombus during the hospital stay (n = 44, 44%) had more extensive myocardial dysfunction on discharge (P < 0.001) and significantly higher mortality during the follow up period than those without a thrombus (23% v 7%, P < 0.01). CONCLUSIONS: With routine thrombolytic and aspirin treatment of anterior myocardial infarction, left ventricular thrombi usually resolve during the first month after hospital discharge. Appearance and resolution of thrombi continue, however, in a significant proportion of the patients during long term follow up. A left ventricular thrombus during the initial hospital stay is associated with high long term mortality.