OBJECTIVE--To examine left ventricular function after surgical resection of subaortic stenosis during childhood. DESIGN--Left ventricular performance was measured non-invasively in all patients who responded to an invitation for formal assessment. SETTING--Outpatient study, tertiary referral centre. PATIENTS--Twenty three (12 male and 11 female) patients (age range 3 to 31 years) of 43 consecutive patients with fixed subaortic stenosis undergoing surgical resection between 1975 and 1989 reattended for formal assessment 16 months to 15 years (median 4 years 4 months) after operation. MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES--Left ventricular dimension, left ventricular wall thickness, left ventricular Doppler inflow velocities, and left ventricular diastolic pressure (measured from apexcardiograms). Results were compared with those in controls individually matched for age and sex. RESULTS--All patients were symptom free. Left ventricular cavity dimensions were normal, as was the mean fractional shortening. Posterior wall thickness tended to be greater in the patients and there was a significant increase in septal thickness. Normalised peak rate of posterior wall thinning was significantly lower in the patients and the isovolumic relaxation time was significantly shorter. Doppler inflow velocity measurements showed that early diastolic mitral flow acceleration time was normal but deceleration time was significantly shorter in the patients. The ratio of mitral flow in early diastole (E) to E plus mitral flow in late diastole (A) was significantly higher in the patients and in two patients there was complete absence of A wave flow despite large A waves on the apexcardiogram. CONCLUSIONS--Systolic function was well preserved in patients after operation for subaortic stenosis. A restrictive pattern of left ventricular filling was common, however, and presumably reflected a response to the chronic pressure load and to surgery in the paediatric heart.