Background Apoptosis causes myocardiocyte loss during and after myocardial infarction. Therapeutic approaches designed to arrest apoptosis would be a significant new development in the recovery of acute myocardial infarction (AMI). In order to examine apoptotic markers in the circulation, serum levels of p53 and cytochrome c were assessed in patients with AMI. Methods Blood samples were taken on admission (before initiation of therapy) and on the 3rd and 7th days of hospitalization. Serum levels of p53 and cytochrome c were measured by enzyme-linked immunassay. Results The serum level of p53 was higher in AMI patients on admission compared to the control group. A time-dependent decrease was observed in the serum level of p53, but there was no significant change in the serum level of cytochrome c during therapy. Conclusions p53, but not cytochrome c, appears to have potential as a biomarker for reporting on apoptosis following myocardial infarction.