The predictive value of plasma atrial natriuretic peptide (ANP) on the cardioversion outcome was evaluated in 46 hospitalized patients with recent-onset atrial fibrillation (AF). Cardioversion was successful in 42 (91%) patients, 7 (15%) of them regained sinus rhythm spontaneously. After 12 months, 14 (33%) cardioverted patients were in chronic AF. There were no differences in plasma ANP levels between groups where cardioversion failed, those who cardioverted but later developed chronic AF or those who remained in sinus rhythm. However, among patients who were on antiarrhythmic therapy, ANP levels obtained after cardioversion were lower in those who later remained in sinus rhythm. We conclude that lower ANP after cardioversion may be associated with increased chances of long-term preservation of sinus rhythm.