A close-out questionnaire was distributed to the participants in a long-term heart failure trial, Studies of Left Ventricular Dysfunction (SOLVD). The respondents' primary motivation for enrollment, positive and negative experiences, and reported changes in habitual behavior was analyzed. Seventy-four percent (N = 3522) of the eligible patients responded to the survey. The most commonly cited reason for enrollment was recommendation by the primary physician. A wish "to contribute to medical science" and "to help others" was also a frequent incentive. A majority of the respondents were satisfied with participation and would be willing to participate in a future clinical trial. Most negative experiences included transportation to and from the clinic and frequent staff changes. A significant number of the patients reported changes in their smoking habits, alcohol intake, and diet despite the absence of behavioral interventions in the study protocol. There were minor differences between attitudes and perceptions of the male and female participants. No differences were found between patients who had previously participated in a clinical trial and those who had not. © 1994.