It has been suggested that diffuse Tc-99m pyrophosphate precordial activity may be due to persistent blood-pool activity in routine delayed views during myocardial imaging. To answer this question, the authors received myocardial scintigrams recorded 60-90 min following the injection of 12-15 mCi of Tc-99m pyrophosphate for the presence of diffuse precordial activity, and compared these with early images of the blood pool in 265 patients. Diffuse activity in the delayed images was identified in 48 patients: in 20 with acute myocardial infarction and in 28 with no evidence of it. Comparison of these routine delayed images with early views of the blood pool revealed two types of patterns. In patients with acute infarction, 95% had delayed images that were distinguishable from blood pool either because the activity was smaller than the early blood pool, or by the presence of localized activity superimposed on diffuse activity identical to blood pool. In those without infarction, 93% had activity distribution in routine delayed views matching that in the early blood-pool images. The usefulness of the diffuse TcPPi precordial activity in myocardial infarction is improved when early blood-pool imaging is used to exclude persistence of blood-pool activity as its cause. Moreover, it does not require additional amounts of radioactivity nor complex computer processing, a feature that may be of value in the community hospital using the technique to 'rule out' infarction 24-72 hr after onset of suggestive symptoms.