The relative values of the unprocessed signal-averaged electrocardiogram (ECG) and time domain analysis and frequency domain analysis of the signal-averaged ECG were compared in 36 patients with sustained monomorphic ventricular tachycardia and a remote myocardial infarction, in 29 asymptomatic patients with a remote myocardial infarction and in 23 normal subjects. Area ratios of the energy spectra derived from fast Fourier transform analysis were calculated using six separate 140 ms intervals starting at 0, 40, 50 and 60 ms after QRS onset; 40 and 50 ms before QRS end and a variable length interval starling 40 ms before QRS end and extending to the T wave. Total filtered QRS duration, late potential duration and root mean square voltage of the terminal QRS complex were measured from the filtered vector magnitude signal-averaged ECG. The total QRS duration was also measured from the X, Y, Z leads of the unfiltered signal-averaged ECG. Seven variables were significantly different in univariate tests between myocardial infarction patients with and without ventricular tachycardia: three fast Fourier transform area ratios with the sampling interval starting at 1) QRS onset (p = 0.007), 2) 40 ms after QRS onset (p = 0.02), and 3) 60 ms after QRS onset (p < 0.0001); and all four time domain variables at 1) total filtered QRS duration (p < 0.0001), 2) late potential duration (p = 0.0001), 3) root mean square terminal QRS voltage (p = 0.0001), and 4) QRS duration from the unprocessed signal-averaged ECG (p < 0.0001). Of these seven variables, only the fast Fourier transform area ratio starting at QRS onset was significantly different between patients with myocardial infarction without ventricular tachycardia and normal subjects. In multivariable analysis, the total filtered vector magnitude QRS duration, a time domain variable that includes the late potential, was the only independent factor that separated patients with myocardial infarction with and without associated ventricular tachycardia. © 1988.