The relation between chest pain, ST segment depression, and changes in left ventricular function was assessed in six patients with angina, a positive exercise test, and normal coronary arteries as assessed by arteriography (syndrome X). In the six patients with syndrome X and in six controls there was no significant rise in pulmonary artery diastolic pressure during treadmill exercise, although there was ST segment depression (range 1-4.5 mm) in the patients with syndrome X. In 19 patients with coronary artery disease, however, the pulmonary artery diastolic pressure increased by a median 5 mm Hg (range 0-13.6 mm Hg) on treadmill exercise. In only one patient with coronary artery disease, who showed 1 mm ST segment depression, was there no rise in pulmonary artery diastolic pressure. During ambulatory monitoring in patients with syndrome X there were 12 episodes of ST segment depression (greater than 1 mm) (4 painful, 8 painless) in which there was no change in pulmonary artery diastolic pressure. In the patients with coronary artery disease there were 29 episodes of angina during ambulatory monitoring and during all of them pulmonary artery diastolic pressure rose by a median 7.5 mm Hg (range 1.8-19.7 mm Hg). Unlike the haemodynamic changes that usually occur during myocardial ischaemia in coronary artery disease, chest pain and ST segment changes in patients with syndrome X are not associated with impaired left ventricular function as assessed by ambulatory pulmonary artery pressure monitoring.