A non-invasive method using continuous wave Doppler shift ultrasound and spectral analysis was used as a screening test for severe carotid artery disease in patients undergoing cardiopulmonary bypass operations. One hundred and eighty-eight patients were examined before cardiac surgery (91 for ischaemic heart disease, 17 for ischaemic heart disease and valve replacement, 66 for valve replacement alone, and 14 for congenital abnormalities). The mean age of the 108 patients suffering from ischaemic heart disease was 54 years (+/- 8) and that of the 80 patients admitted either for valve replacement alone or for congenital abnormalities was 52 years (+/- 12). Five of the 108 patients suffering from ischaemic heart disease were found to have severe occlusive disease of the internal carotid artery by the ultrasound test, while the test was normal in the other two groups. Patients with severe carotid artery disease proceeded to carotid arteriography and endarterectomy before the planned heart operation.