Aim: Reperfusion therapy in acute myocardial infarction reduces infarct size and increases hospital survival. We investigated whether the benefit of reperfusion therapy for myocardial infarction was sustained long-term and assessed the gain in life expectancy by reperfusion therapy. Methods and results: We analysed the outcome of 533 patients (mean age 56 years, 82% men), who were randomized to either reperfusion therapy or conventional therapy during 1980-1985. Median follow up was 27 years (25-30 years). At follow up, 59 patients (22%) of the 269 patients allocated to reperfusion treatment and only 39 patients (15%) of the 264 conventionally treated patients were still alive (p = 0.02). The cumulative 10-, 15-, 20-, and 25-year survival rates were 69, 48, 37, and 24% afte Conclusion: These data confirm that the benefits of early reperfusion therapy for acute myocardial infarction are sustained throughout the lifetime of the patients. More than 3 life years were gained by reperfusion therapy.