ST-T wave changes of electrocardiographic (ECG) leads have long been recognized as predictors of future cardiac events, but they only imperfectly characterize T-loop morphology. Using vectorcardiographic (VCG) parameters, we investigated the predictive value of T-loop abnormality for fatal and nonfatal cardiac events in a prospective cohort study among 5,815 elderly. Separately, the predictive value of an easily obtainable T-loop parameter, the T axis, was also assessed. Measurements were determined by a computer program, using VCGs reconstructed from the standard 12-lead ECGs. During the 3 to 6 (mean 4) years of follow-up, 166 fatal and 193 nonfatal cardiac events occurred. Subjects with an abnormal T-loop morphology had increased risks for fatal cardiac events (hazard ratio 4.3; 95% CI 3.0-6.4) and nonfatal cardiac events (3.0; 1.9-4.8). Risks associated with an abnormal T axis alone were only slightly lower. Additional adjustment for established cardiovascular risk indicators resulted in lower, but still highly significant risks. Both T-loop and T-axis abnormalities appear to be strong, independent risk indicators of cardiac events in the elderly.