To assess the change in angiographically visualized collaterals in evolving acute myocardial infarction (AMI), coronary arteriograms from 53 patients obtained 6.2 ± 0.2 hours after onset of AMI symptoms were compared with follow-up angiograms obtained 14 ± 1 days later. Collaterals were graded according to intensity score and percent of distal infarct-related artery visualized. Collateral intensity score and the percent of distal infarct vessel visualized by collaterals at baseline were low, and there was a significant increase in both values at follow-up angiography. The group of 20 patients with occluded infarct vessels at follow-up study accounted for these increases. In 33 patients with patient infarct vessels at repeat angiography, collateral intensity score and percent of segment visualized were unchanged. Among the patients with occluded infarct vessels at baseline and subsequent improvement in left ventricular (LV) ejection fraction (EF), baseline collateral score and percent of segment visualized were significantly greater than in patients in whom LVEF did not improve. Thus, in patients with evolving AMI, (1) angiographically visible collaterals are not extensive within the early hours of AMI, (2) the extent of collaterals on follow-up angiography may not be representative of that on the day of AMI, (3) collaterals are considerably more common 2 weeks after AMI, especially in patients with occluded infarct arteries during follow-up, and (4) collaterals present at the time of AMI are associated with improved LVEF at 2 weeks. © 1985.