In a randomised controlled trial of 511 men under 65 followed for 1451 man/years, half the patients were invited to readmit themselves to hospital if ischaemic pain recurred. The majority of such patients who were readmitted took advantage of the scheme. There was no evidence that they admitted themselves unnecessarily. Time from the onset of pain to admission was significantly reduced in those who made use of the scheme. All of the seven successful resuscitations among patients readmitted occurred in those who had bypassed their general practitioner and secured admission within two and a half hours of the onset of pain.