Background: The grade of ischemia, as detected by the relation between the QRS complex and ST segment on the admission electrocardiogram, is associated with larger infarct size and increased mortality rates in acute myocardial infarction. Methods: We assessed the correlation between left ventricular function and the admission electrocardiogram in 151 patients with first anterior acute myocardial infarction who received thrombolytic therapy and underwent cardiac catheterization at 90 minutes and before hospital discharge. The number of leads with ST elevation, sum of ST elevation, maximal Selvester score, and the presence of severe (grade 3) ischemia were determined in each electrocardiogram. Left ventricular ejection fraction, the number of chords with wall motion abnormalities, and the severity of dysfunction (SD/chord) were determined. Results: At 90 minutes, the 39 ischemia grade 3 patients had lower ejection fraction than the 112 grade 2 patients. Both at 90 minutes and at hospital discharge, the grade 3 group had more chords with wall motion abnormalities and more severe regional dysfunction (SD/chord). However, the number of leads with ST elevation, sum of ST elevation, and maximal Selvester score had no correlation with ejection fraction at 90 minutes and only mild correlation with the extent of dysfunction (number of chords) at 90 minutes. There was no correlation between either the number of leads with ST elevation or the sum of ST elevation and the severity of regional dysfunction. Conclusions: The number of leads with ST elevation, sum of ST elevation, and maximal Selvester score had only mild correlation with the extent of myocardial dysfunction but not with the severity of dysfunction. Grade 3 ischemia is predictive of more extensive myocardial involvement and greater severity of regional dysfunction.