OBJECTIVE: Angina and the presence of myocardial ischaemia are common in hypertrophic cardiomyopathy. Dual chamber pacing results in clinical improvement in these patients. This study evaluates the effects of permanent dual chamber pacing on absolute regional myocardial perfusion and perfusion reserve. SETTING: University hospital. PATIENTS AND DESIGN: Six patients with hypertrophic cardiomyopathy and severe symptoms of angina received a dual chamber pacemaker. Absolute myocardial regional perfusion and perfusion reserve (dipyridamole 0.56 mg/kg) were measured by dynamic positron emission tomography with 13N-ammonia both during sinus rhythm and 3 months after pacemaker insertion. Results were compared with those from 28 healthy volunteers. RESULTS: Pacing resulted in a reduction of anginal complaints and a reduction in intraventricular pressure gradient from 65 (SD 30) mm Hg to 19 (10) mm Hg. During sinus rhythm, baseline perfusion was higher in patients with hypertrophic cardiomyopathy than controls (184 (31) v 106 (26) ml/min/100 g, P < 0.01), and perfusion reserve was lower (1.6 (0.4) v 2.8 (1.0), P < 0.05). During pacing myocardial perfusion decreased to 130 (27) ml/min/100 g (P < 0.05), with variable responses in terms of perfusion reserve. Pacing caused a redistribution of myocardial stress perfusion and perfusion reserve. The coefficient of regional variation of myocardial stress perfusion decreased from 19.7 (7.0)% to 14.6 (3.9)% during pacing (12.9 (3.8)% in controls, P < 0.01). The coefficient of regional variation of perfusion reserve decreased from 16.7 (6.6)% to 11.4 (2.6)% during pacing (9.8 (4.1)% in controls, P < 0.01). CONCLUSIONS: Pacing caused a decrease of resting left ventricular myocardial blood flow and blood flow during pharmacologically induced coronary vasodilatation. Although global perfusion reserve remained unchanged, myocardial perfusion reserve became more homogeneously distributed.