BACKGROUND: Conflicting with clinical practice guidelines, recent studies demonstrated that serum potassium concentrations (SPC) of ≥4.5 mEq/l were associated with increased mortality in patients with acute myocardial infarction (AMI). This study examined the association between SPC and long-term mortality following AMI in patients recruited from a population-based registry. METHODS: Included in the study were 3347 patients with AMI aged 28-74 years consecutively hospitalized between 1 January 2000 and 31 December 2008 and followed up until 31 December 2011. Patients were categorized into five SPC groups (<3.5, 3.5 to <4.0, 4.0 to <4.5, 4.5 to <5.0, and ≥5.0 mEq/l). The outcome of the study was all-cause mortality. Cox regression models adjusted for risk factors, co-morbidities and in-hospital treatment were constructed. RESULTS: In our study population, 249 patients (7.4%) had a low SPC (<3.5 mEq/l) and 134 (4.0%) patients had a high SPC (≥5.0 mEq/l). Patients with SPC of ≥5.0 mEq/l had the highest long-term mortality (29.9%) and in the adjusted model, their risk of dying was significantly increased (HR 1.46, 95% CI 1.03 to 2.07) compared to patients with SPC between 4.0 and <4.5 mEq/l. Analyses of increasing observation periods showed a trend towards a higher risk of dying in patients with SPC between 4.5 and <5.0 mEq/l. CONCLUSION: An admission SPC of ≥5.0 mEq/l might be associated with an increased mortality risk in patients with AMI. Patients with an admission SPC between 4.5 and <5.0 mEq/l might have an increased mortality risk in the first few years following AMI.