BACKGROUND: Non-Q weve myocardial infarction(NQMI) is known to have smaller infarct size and less degree of ventricular dysfunction than Q wave myocardial infarction(QMI). However, clinical characteristics of NQMI compared to QMI are not known exactly. To evaluate the clinical outcome of NQMI, retrospective analysis of NQMI was performed. METHOD: Subjects were 155(123 male, 32 female; 61.1+/-11.4 years) patients with acute myocardial infarction who visited the emergency room of Chonnam University Hospital between January 1995 and July 1996. Inclusion criteria were prolonged(>30 min) angina, persistent EKG changes consistent with QMI or NQMI, an increase(twice than normal) in serum CK(nomal; 30-170 U/L) with CK-MB(normal; 0-16 U/L) enzyme. Thirty four(28 male, 6 female; 62.7+/-11.2 years) patients were diagnosed as NQMI and 121(95 male, 26 female; 60.6+/-11.5 yrs) patients as QMI. RESULTS: 1) Percentage of patients who recevedthrombolytic therapy was not different between NQMI(50%) and QMI(51%). 2) There was no differences in the atherosclerosis risk factors between NQMI and QMI. 3) Peak cardiac enzyme was not different between NQMI and QMI. 4) Lateral wall infarction by EKG was more frequent in NQMI than QMI(8.8 vs. 0.8%, p<0.05). 5) According to coronary angiogram, LCX involvement was more frequent in NQMI than in QMI(17.8 vs. 1%, p<0.05). 6) Percentage of coronary revascularizations, including PTCA and CABG, was not different between two groups. 7) There were no differences in the incidences of in-hospital mortality and arrhythmia between two groups. 8) During 10.9+/-11 months'follow-up, reinfarction rate was more frequent in NQMI than in QMI(7.1 vs. 2%,p<0.05). CONCLUSION: NQMI is associated with similar complication rates with QMI and higher reinfarction rates than QMI, and thus NQMI should be treated rigorously at early and follow-up time periods.