Existing studies provide conflicting information concerning the natural history of regional dysfunction after subacute myocardial infarction. The purpose of this study was to use quantitative computer-assisted two-dimensional echocardiography to define the natural history of abnormal wall motion in a subacute canine infarct model within individual short-axis echocardiographic planes, and in the entire ventricle as well. Serial short-axis echocardiograms were obtained from 10 closed-chest dogs before occlusion and at 0.5, 6, 24, 48, and 72 hours after ligation of the circumflex (six dogs) or left anterior descending (four dogs) coronary artery. The circumferential extent of abnormal wall motion was quantified by two different computer-assisted methods: the first, a derived correlation method, examined wall motion throughout the systolic contraction sequence; the second method examined the fractional radial change in endocardial ray length from end-diastole to end-systole. The study shows that for individual planes there is a slight but not statistically significant increase in the circumferential extent of abnormal wall motion from 0.5 to 72 hours after coronary artery occlusion; however, when the total extent of left ventricular asynergy was used to define a global functional infarct size, we observed a small (3.6% to 5.4%) but significant increase in the circumferential extent of abnormal wall motion.