AIM: To examine trends in the prevalence of myocardial infarction (MI) and conventional risk factors in Greek adults between 2002 and 2006. DESIGN: Repeated cross-sectional study. METHODS: Self-reported data from surveys given in Salamis during two election days in 2002 and 2006 were analysed. The same sampling method and procedures were used on both surveys. The study sample included 2805 and 3478 subjects (> or =20 years) in 2002 and 2006, respectively, with similar age and sex distribution to the target population. RESULTS: The prevalence of MI increased from 4.1% (men, 6.3%; women, 1.9%) in 2002 to 4.8% (men, 7.3%; women, 2.2%) in 2006 (P = 0.18). At the same time, prevalence rates of major risk factors were as follows: diabetes increased from 8.7% to 10.3% (P = 0.037), hypertension from 20.1% to 25.7% (P < 0.001) and hypercholesterolemia (cholesterol >240 mg/dl or the use of cholesterol-lowering medication) increased from 17.5% to 22.3% (P < 0.001). Prevalence of current smokers in 2002 (defined as persons who smoked > or =5 cigarettes/day) was 37.0% and in 2006 (defined as those who smoked > or =1 cigarettes/day) was 40.1%. Logistic regression analysis showed that the aforementioned risk factors were significantly associated with MI in both surveys; the factor that showed the greatest magnitude of association with MI was hypercholesterolemia, followed by diabetes, hypertension and smoking. CONCLUSION: These findings show that, in the Greek population, prevalence of MI continues to rise (at approximately 4% per year). This trend seems to be driven by a persistently high prevalence of smoking and the rapidly increasing burden of diabetes, hypertension and hypercholesterolemia.