The acute hemodynamic effects of the phosphodiesterase (PDE) III inhibitor saterinone were compared with dobutamine and sodium nitroprusside in 12 patients with idiopathic congestive cardiomyopathy (NYHA III). Hemodynamic measurements were obtained with a Swan-Ganz thermodilution catheter. At the peak of its dose-response curve, saterinone induced an increase in cardiac index (+102%), stroke volume (+97%), and heart rate (+6%), paralleled by a decrease in pulmonary capillary wedge pressure (−46%), right atrial pressure (−51%), pulmonary arterial pressure (systolic −32%, diastolic −45%, mean −38%), systemic blood pressure (systolic −3%, diastolic −13%, mean −9%), systemic vascular resistance (−54%), and pulmonary vascular resistance (−58%). Dobutamine had similar effects on cardiac index (+106%) and stroke volume (+87%) but lacked vasodilatory characteristics. In contrast to dobutamine, both nitroprusside and saterinone demonstrated more pronounced vasodilatory effects. Nitroprusside was less effective on cardiac index (+66%) and stroke volume (+56%) than was saterinone. The double product was markedly increased by dobutamine (+28%), did not change with saterinone treatment (+2%), and decreased with nitroprusside (−10%). This indicates that according to double product, only the application of dobutamine caused a relevant increase in myocardial oxygen consumption. Saterinone was demonstrated to be a safe and potent drug on short-term application; it combines the vasodilating properties of sodium nitroprusside with the positive inotropic effects of dobutamine without major changes in myocardial oxygen consumption.