Cardiac troponin T (cTnT), a highly sensitive and specific indicator of myocardial cell death, may be elevated in congestive heart failure (CHF). The aims of this study were to test the hypothesis that decompensated CHF may be associated with an increase in cTnT release and to correlate between cTnT levels and patient outcomes. The authors studied 55 patients aged between 38 and 86 years (30 women and 25 men) who were hospitalized for CHF. Left ventricular ejection fraction (EF) was calculated by using modified Simpson's rule by echocardiography. cTnT levels were assessed. Troponin T >= 0.1 ng/mL was considered as positive. All patients were contacted by phone annually during the next 3 years, and their history of subsequent hospital admissions and current health status were recorded. cTnT was negative in 44 (80%) and positive in 11 (20%) patients. EF was significantly lower and NYHA was higher in cTnT-positive patients. During the 3-year follow-up period, 25 patients died from CHF. The mortality rate was 8/11 (72.7%) among cTnT-positive patients, whereas the mortality rate was 17/44 (38.6%) among cTnT-negative patients. There were significant relationships among positivity of cTnT, NYHA, EF, and mortality rate. Multivariate regression analysis yielded an independent relationship between positivity of cTnT, NYHA classification, and mortality rate. The percent of hospital admissions due to CHF was also higher in patients with cTnT positive (63.6 o versus, 27.3%, p < 0.05). In conclusion, this study shows that cTnT positivity is an independent risk factor in predicting the long-term mortality and morbidity rate in patients with CHF. Patients with worsening CHF may possibly be identified early on the basis of their elevated serum cTnT levels.