Reperfusion alone during acute myocardial infarction (AMI) preserves left ventricular (LV) topography but causes ‘stunning’, with delayed or no recovery of function. To determine whether adjunctive intravenous nitroglycerin (NTG) accelerates functional recovery, we prospectively measured function and topography by repeated two-dimensional echocardiography between 1 day and 6 months in 5 groups of patients (n = 73) with a first AMI: placebo (group 1), NTG alone (group 2), NTG combined with successful reperfusion after 4 h (group 3) or failed reperfusion (group 4), and successful reperfusion alone (group 5). Asynergy decreased promptly (p < 0.001) and ejection fraction improved (p < 0.001) between day 1 and 6 months in groups 2 and 3 compared to baseline and groups 1, 4 and 5. Infarct expansion and thinning found in group 1 were prevented in groups 2, 3, 4 and 5. Diastolic volume increased in the anterior subgroup 1 but not 2, 3, 4 and 5. This is the first demonstration that reperfusion combined with adjunctive NTG produces earlier, greater and persistent recovery of LV function in addition to attenuation of remodeling in patients after AMI.