Analysis of atrioventricular plane displacement (AVPD) is a well established method for assessment of both systolic and diastolic ventricular function. For several years, AVPD has been a clinical tool and there are many current, as well as potential, areas of application. However, clinical work has shown that the traditional method for evaluation of systolic ventricular function, called total AVPD, does not temporally reflect true systole. Systolic AVPD is a new approach for measuring AVPD to assess ventricular systolic function. We wished to apply this new model in healthy subjects and in patients with different common heart diseases. Twenty-eight young healthy males and 30 patients (aortic stenosis, left sided regurgitant lesions, postmyocardial infarction) were enrolled. AVPD was obtained at the four standard sites by M-mode. Total AVPD was measured in the conventional way and systolic AVPD by identifying true systole, by means of mitral- and aortic valve closure respectively. Ventricular volumes were calculated according to biplane Simpson's rule. The systolic AVPD measurements were significantly lower than the total measurements, at both atrioventricular planes in all groups (P<0·001). This discrepancy was greater at the mitral than at the tricuspid annulus in the patients 24·2% vs. 15·5% (P<0·001), but did not differ in the healthy subjects. At the mitral annulus, this discrepancy also seemed to be more pronounced in the patients than in the healthy subjects 24·2% vs. 10·7%. When assessing ventricular systolic function by AVPD, the conventional method overestimates the amplitude in relation to true systolic function in both patients with heart disease and in young healthy males. Thus, there are uncertainties regarding earlier estimations of AVPD in terms of expression of systolic function and regarding previously presented reference values. We recommend the proposed methodology.