202 patients with congestive cardiomyopathy have been classified according to their hemodynamic, angiographic, echocardiographic and scintigraphic findings: 72 patients were in the late stage (LS), 103 patients in an early stage (ES) and 17 patients showed a latent form of the disease. 48% of the hemodynamic ES were found to be clinically in stage IV NYHA and 53% of ES fell in class III. 40% of the patients with LS showed a stationary clinical course whereas 46% could improve their classification by one grade. The mortality in hemodynamic LS was 46% within an interval of 18 +/- 14 months after the diagnosis. In ES 64% showed a stable clinical course, where a 22% were deteriorating. Mortality in this group was 10%. Sensitivity and specificity of echocardiography (93 vs 80%) and radionuclide methods (80 vs 71%) were quite good in the late stage whereas in ES specificity was only 71% vs 80%. There was a discrepancy between the degree of myocardial impairment and clinical symptoms in the late stage whereas in the early stage there was no correlation between exercise capacity and LV-hemodynamics. Non-invasive methods allow the hemodynamic evaluation of the disease; invasive methods are required for clarification of diagnosis or establishing prognosis.