Data from the World Health Organization Monitoring Trends and Determinants in Cardiovascular Disease (WHO MONICA) project, collected in Perth, are described. Patients taking a beta-blocker at the time of onset of myocardial infarction are a high-risk group, but univariate analysis of the data showed that the overall survival of patients on beta-blockers at 28 days was the same as for those not taking beta-blockers. A multiple logistic regression model analysis showed that the patients treated with beta-blockers had a survival advantage at 28 days, with a relative risk of death of 0.5. The mechanism of benefit is unclear. It does not appear to be an anti-arrhythmic effect, because beta-blockers did not affect survival in the first 24 h following a myocardial infarction, nor did they affect ventricular fibrillation. The effect may be due to a reduction in myocardial necrosis. Furthermore, an analysis of the incidence of coronary disease and type of drugs prescribed in Perth has indicated that beta-blockers may be contributing to a decrease in mortality due to coronary events.