To compare the acute and sustained effect of intravenous isosorbide dinitrate to intravenous nitroglycerin in patients with acute myocardial infarction and elevated pulmonary artery wedge pressure, 111 patients were randomized and studied within 96 hours of admission to the coronary care unit. All patients had a pulmonary artery wedge pressure greater than or equal to 10 mm Hg and received either isosorbide dinitrate (74 patients) or nitroglycerin (37 patients) for 24 to 48 hours. Blood pressure, heart rate, pulmonary artery wedge pressure, cardiac output, medication dose in micrograms per minute and retitration episodes were compared at baseline and at 6, 12, 18 and 24 hours. Both drugs significantly (p less than 0.05) lowered pulmonary artery wedge pressure and blood pressure and increased cardiac output. Isosorbide dinitrate required fewer retitration episodes and less increases in dosage than nitroglycerin at 24 hours. In the patient with acute myocardial infarction complicated by high pulmonary artery wedge pressure who requires intravenous nitrates for 24 hours, isosorbide dinitrate may offer the benefit of a more stable hemodynamic effect.