Xamoterol is a novel partial agonist of ß1 adrenoceptors that reduces myocardial ischaemia and improves ventricular function in patients with mild to moderate heart failure. In a double blind, randomised, placebo controlled study, the effects of xamoterol given in a dose of 200 mg twice daily were studied in 51 consecutive patients with acute myocardial infarction, including 17 receiving diuretics for left ventricular failure. Treatment was started on the third day of admission and continued for 7 days. Blood pressure was recorded at 0900 daily, and 24 hour ambulatory electrocardiogram monitoring was commenced at this time on days 1 (pre-treatment), 4, 6 and 9 of admission. Additional drug therapy was recorded daily throughout the study. One patient died prior to randomisation and three were withdrawn (1 placebo, 2 xamoterol) with ventricular arrhythmias and/or disturbances of conduction. Compared to placebo, xamoterol had no effect on the rate of ventricular premature beats or ventricular tachycardia. Xamoterol increased nocturnal heart rate (0000-0600 hrs 79 ± 2; placebo 72 ± beats/min; P<0.03) but did not change blood pressure. Three patients receiving xamoterol, and 7 on placebo, required new (after randomisation) antianginal therapy. One patient treated with placebo developed new heart failure. These results show that xamoterol can be administered safely to selected patients following myocardial infarction, including those treated for mild heart failure.