The value of gadolinium enhancement to enable detection of infarcted myocardium at T1-weighted magnetic resonance (MR) imaging was assessed in 84 patients after acute myocardial infarction (AMI). Five healthy subjects served as controls. All patients underwent MR imaging before and 20 minutes after administration of gadopentetate dimeglumine. Contrast enhancement of normal myocardium varied 7% ± 4 after administration of gadopentetate dimeglumine. Mean intensity ratio after gadolinium enhancement in group 1 (imaging less than 1 week after AMI), group 2 (imaging 1-3 weeks after AMI), and group 3 (imaging 3-6 weeks after AMI) was significantly higher than before gadolinium enhancement. In group 4 (imaging more than 6 weeks after AMI), no significant difference was observed. After gadolinium enhancement, the intensity ratio was abnormally increased in 82% of the MR examinations in group 1, in 62% of group 2, in 58% of group 3, and in 12% of group 4. Gadolinium enhancement improved visualization of myocardial infarction at MR imaging up to 6 weeks after onset of symptoms and had a maximal effect within 1 week after AMI.