Laser angioplasty can cause early (acute perforation) or late (stenosis or aneurysm) complications. To find how much intravascular laser energy can be delivered via a 100 microns core optical fibre passed down a balloon angioplasty catheter without causing angiographic abnormalities up to 10 days later, argon laser energy was delivered percutaneously under radiographic screening to the coronary circulation of 12 normal closed chest dogs. With the balloon inflated, sequential laser pulses were delivered to the same site. Angiograms were recorded before, immediately, and again at one week, after laser delivery. There were two laser-induced perforations (both fatal). Mechanical perforation with the 100 microns fibre occurred four times, but there were no haemodynamic sequelae. To find the acute perforation threshold of similar sized arteries to energy delivered via the bare 100 microns core fibre, the tip of which was held in contact with the luminal surface, 32 argon laser pulses were delivered transluminally in vivo to separate sites in normal rabbit iliac and canine coronary arteries. The acute perforation threshold with energy delivered via the angioplasty catheter lay between 6 and 10 J and that without the balloon angioplasty catheter lay between 3 and 4 J. After delivery of up to 6 J via a balloon angioplasty catheter, there were no angiographic abnormalities at one week. Fibre optic transluminal delivery of laser energy may improve the primary success rate of, and perhaps widen the indications for, coronary angioplasty.