Ventricular function may improve after coronary artery bypass grafting (CABG) in patients with ischemic cardiomyopathy depending on the amount of contractile myocardial reserve. Based on the studies using dobutamine echocardiography to predict regional wall improvement after revascularization, we investigated the benefit of low-dose dobutamine radionuclide ventriculography for assessing functional contractile reserve in this population. The study group included 56 patients with ischemic cardiomyopathy (mean left ventricular [LV] ejection fraction [EF] of 23 ± 5%) and multivessel disease, who were referred for viability assessment. All underwent radionuclide ventriculography before and during infusion of 5 and 10 μg/kg/min of dobutamine. An increase in global LVEF from rest to dobutamine was calculated, and 10% was considered the cutoff value to predict ventricular improvement after CABG. Of the 35 patients who underwent CABG 1 month later, 29 were available for repeated radionuclide ventriculography after 12 ± 5 months. Of these, 15 showed improvement (ΔLVEF ≥5%, mean 10 ± 5%) and 14 did not (ΔLVEF <5%, mean -1 ± 3%). The increase in EF with dobutamine had the highest univariate predictive value of all parameters evaluated. The sensitivity, specificity, and positive and negative predictive values of dobutamine radionuclide ventriculography were 67%, 93%, 91%, and 72%, respectively. We conclude that dobutamine radionuclide ventriculography is a useful method to assess contractile reserve and predict ventricular functional improvement after CABG in patients with ischemic cardiomyopathy.