Abstract The purpose of this study is to assess the potential value of ultrasmall superparamagnetic iron oxide (USPIO) for the detection of acute myocardial infarction by magnetic resonance (MR) imaging. Spin-echo magnetic resonance imaging of the heart was performed before, immediately after, and approximately 35 and 90 min after 30 μmol Fe/kg of USPIO administration in seven pigs with surgically induced myocardial infarction. Gradient-echo sequences were used to identify contraction abnormalities at the site of infarction. Myocardial signal intensities were measured using region-of-interest analysis in normal and infarcted myocardium. In addition, liver and lung signal intensities were measured. Pathologic correlation was performed after sacrificing the animals. The infarct area was located with wall-motion analysis. The site of infarction was confirmed at pathologic examination. The signal-intensity ratio between infarcted and normal myocardium was not significantly changed after USPIO administration at equilibrium stages (immediately after injection p = 0.64, at 35 min p = 0.32, at 90 min p = 0.73). The signal intensity of the liver decreased significantly after contrast administration ( p < 0.05). For the lung, the change in signal intensity after USPIO administration was not significant. This pig model is well suited to study wall motion abnormalities after induction of acute myocardial infarction. USPIO-enhanced magnetic resonance imaging does not improve the visualization of acute myocardial infarction at equilibrium stage.