This study sought to assess the prognostic significance of echocardiographic measurements of left and right ventricular dimensions and function in patients >67 years of age with chronic congestive heart failure (CHF). This is a retrospective follow-up of elderly patients who underwent an echocardiography in the tertiary cardiac center. A total of 185 patients (131 men) aged ≥68 years (mean ± SD 75 ± 5) with CHF were enrolled into the study. After undergoing a detailed echocardiographic examination, all patients were followed-up for a median of 20 months (interquartile range 9 to 36). During the follow-up period 54 patients (29%) died. Left ventricular (LV) M-mode isovolumic relaxation time (IVRT), end-diastolic and end-systolic diameters, fractional shortening and mass, transmitral E:A ratio, and left atrial dimension, as well as New York Heart Association class and the age were found by Cox proportional-hazards univariate analyses to predict the outcome in these patients (all p <0.05). In multivariate analyses including these measurements, LV IVRT (p <0.04), age (p <0.03), and New York Heart Association class (p <0.001) were found to be the independent predictors of outcome. In the Kaplan-Meier analysis, patients with LV IVRT >30 ms had a better prognosis at 3 years (cumulative survival 78% [95% confidence interval 65% to 91%]) than those with LV IVRT ≤30 ms (survival 52% [95% confidence interval 37% to 68%]). Measurements of LV performance, especially those obtained during diastole, are significantly related to prognosis in patients >67 years of age with CHF. LV M-mode IVRT is among the most important independent predictors of outcome in this population. Copyright (C) 2000 Excerpta Medica Inc.