Long-term prognosis of a first myocardial infarction and factors associated with late cardiac mortality and reinfarction were studied in 718 survivors. Patients have been followed up for 1-10 years (mean 57.6 +/- 39.6 months). None of the patients underwent coronary bypass surgery in the follow-up period. Cumulative mortality rates were 8.6% in the first year, 17.9% in 3 years, 26.4% in 5 years and 36.5% in 10 years. The type and site of myocardial infarction (Q-wave versus non-Q-wave and anterior versus infero-posterior) were found to have no independent prognostic importance. The cardiac mortality was best predicted by the occurrence of congestive heart failure in the coronary care unit. Other determinants of late outcome were the presence of ventricular arrhythmias, left bundle branch block, and the occurrence of stable or unstable angina pectoris or reinfarction during the follow-up period. Usage of antiplatelet or anticoagulant drugs was not found to affect mortality. Reinfarction rates were 4, 9.9, 15.5 and 28% in 1, 3, 5 and 10 years, respectively, and no relation was found between the type and location of myocardial infarction and reinfarction rate. Reinfarction was higher in patients receiving anticoagulants and in patients with postmyocardial infarction angina. Our findings suggest that the prognosis of patients with a first acute myocardial infarction in Turkey is not different from that in Western populations and factors influencing prognosis are similar to those previously reported.