To determine whether quantitative ultrasound tissue characterization differentiates normal myocardial regions from segments of remote infarction, 32 consecutive patients with a diagnosis of previous myocardial infarction were evaluated. Images were obtained in real time with a modified two-dimensional ultrasound system capable of providing continuous signals in proportion to the logarithm of integrated backscatter along each A line. In 15 patients, adequate parasternal long-axis images that delineated both normal and infarct segments were obtained with standard time-gain compensation. Image data were analyzed to yield both magnitude and delay (electrocardiographic R wave to nadir normalized for the QT interval) of the cyclic variation of backscatter. Cyclic variation was present in 55 of 56 normal myocardial sites, averaging (mean ± SEM) 3.2 ± 0.2 dB in magnitude and exhibiting a mean normalized delay of 0.87 ± 0.03. The magnitude of cyclic variation in infarct segments was significantly reduced to 1.1 ± 0.2 dB (42 sites), and the delay was markedly increased to 1.47 ± 0.12 (21 sites) (p < 0.0001 for both). In 20 of 42 infarct sites, no cyclic variation was detectable. Thus, ultrasound tissue characterization quantitatively differentiated infarct segments from normal myocardium in patients with remote myocardial infarction.