We performed a study to examine the clinical use of carvedilol, its dosage and its effects on systolic functions in children. Twenty-one patients with dilated cardiomyopathy who were treated with carvedilol adjacent to standard heart failure therapy were enrolled in the study. Echocardiographic assessment was obtained before and during carvedilol therapy, and left ventricular fractional shortening and left ventricular ejection fraction were determined in order to estimate left ventricular function. At a follow-up of six months, left ventricular ejection fraction and fractional shortening significantly improved from 38+/-10% to 53+/-13% and from 19+/-6% to 27+/-8%, respectively, following carvedilol treatment. The results of the present study indicate that carvedilol is well tolerated in children with dilated cardiomyopathy and there is a significant improvement in the clinical status and left ventricular. ejection. fraction in patients not responding to conventional therapy. Patient selection criteria, optimal timing of carvedilol therapy, its dosage and its long-term effects need to be investigated with multi-institutional trials and large numbers of patients.