In 61 consecutive patients undergoing aortocoronary bypass grafting, angiographic and electrocardiographic (ECG) changes were studied. Histologic delineation of myocardium was obtained by analysis of transmural biopsy specimens acquired at the time of surgery. The use of principal-component analysis revealed three definite groups of patients. Group I comprised patients with histologic findings associated with severe left anterior descending coronary artery (LAD) stenosis, without abnormal wall motion or ejection fraction. ECG abnormalities were limited to ST changes. Group II comprised patients with severe myocardial cell degeneration with only modest fibrosis associated with severe LAD stenosis and severely impaired wall motion. The incidence of infarction on the ECG was low. Group III patients had important myocardial cell degeneration with severe fibrosis associated with severe LAD stenosis, severely depressed wall motion, and significantly impaired ejection fraction. In this group there was a high incidence of infarction apparent on the ECG. Postoperative follow-up (24 months) showed a total survival of 94.4% in group I, 92.8% in group II, and only 72.7% in group III. This identification of subtypes of coronary artery disease seems to be helpful in estimating patient prognosis after coronary surgery.