Purpose: Myocardial calcium content may have clinical importance in end-stage renal disease (ESRD), but it is difficult to detect during life. Our goal was to assess the effect of myocardial calcium content on left ventricular ejection fraction (LVEF) in uremic patients undergoing dialysis. Patients and methods: Energy subtraction radiography of the chest was used to measure myocardial calcium content in 43 patients undergoing dialysis, in 32 control subjects, and in nine patients with advanced cardiomyopathy. LVEF and left ventricular end-diastolic dimension were measured by two-dimensional echocardiography. The concentration of parathyroid hormone was measured by radioimmunoassay; calcium-phosphorus product, alkaline phosphatase, and serum bicarbonate were also assessed. Results: Patients undergoing dialysis had a greater myocardial calcium content than control subjects [262 ± 15.4 (mean ± SE) versus 187 ± 8 mg/cm2, p < 0.05]. Ten patients with the highest myocardial calcium content (Group I) had the lowest LVEF values and highest left ventricular end-diastolic dimension. Significant inverse linear associations between LVEF and myocardial calcium content (r = -0.425, p = 0.013) and between parathyroid hormone concentration and LVEF (r = -0.352, p = 0.047) were noted. There was no association between parathyroid hormone concentration and myocardial calcium content. Stepwise regression analysis showed a strong positive correlation between myocardial calcium content and calcium-phosphorus product, vascular calcification, race (black), and parathyroidectomy. Similar analysis shows that LVEF was significantly associated with myocardial calcium content, lung calcium, calcium-phosphorus product, and race (black). Conclusion: We suggest that increased myocardial calcium content results from poor calcium and phosphorus control and may be enhanced by parathyroid hormone hyperactivity. Increased myocardial calcium content is strongly associated with myocardial dysfunction in patients undergoing dialysis. © 1988 Mead Johnson & Company, Evansville, Indiana, 47721, U.S.A.