The association of asymptomatic left ventricular (LV) diastolic dysfunction with cardiovascular outcomes in ambulatory patients with coronary heart disease (CHD) and no history of heart failure (HF) was examined. LV diastolic HF predicts adverse cardiovascular outcomes. However, the prevalence and prognosis of asymptomatic LV diastolic dysfunction in patients with established CHD in the absence of clinical HF is unknown. Six hundred ninety-three patients with stable CHD, normal systolic function (LV ejection fraction>or=50%), and no history of HF were evaluated. Echocardiography was used to classify LV diastolic function, and Cox proportional hazards models were used to evaluate the association of LV diastolic dysfunction with cardiovascular outcomes during 3 years of follow-up. Of 693 subjects with normal systolic function and no history of HF, 455 (66%) had normal LV diastolic function, 166 (24%) had mild LV diastolic dysfunction, and 72 (10%) had moderate to severe LV diastolic dysfunction. After multivariable adjustment, the presence of moderate to severe LV diastolic dysfunction was strongly predictive of incident hospitalization for HF (hazard ratio 6.3, 95% confidence interval 2.4 to 16.1, p=0.0003) and death from heart disease (HR 3.9, 95% confidence interval 1.0 to 14.8, p=0.05). In conclusion, moderate to severe LV diastolic dysfunction was present in 10% of patients with stable CHD with normal ejection fraction and no history of HF and predicts subsequent hospitalization for HF and death from heart disease. Patients with asymptomatic LV diastolic dysfunction may benefit from more aggressive therapy to prevent or delay the development of HF.