OBJECTIVE: Exercise thallium-201 (201T1) single photon emission computed tomography (SPECT) has been used to detect potential ischaemia in the left ventricular myocardium but not in the right ventricle. The purpose of this study was to establish the clinical usefulness of a right ventricular polar map of 201T1 SPECT for visualisation of exercise-induced right ventricular ischaemia. METHODS: Myocardial 201T1 SPECT was obtained immediately after treadmill exercise in 97 patients with suspected coronary artery disease. A region of interest was placed over the right ventricle (RV) on post-stress transaxial images. Short axis images of this region were generated and reconstructed as a bull's eye polar map. Normal ranges of RV 201T1 uptake were determined in 12 patients with normal coronary arteries. Scintigraphic criteria for identifying RV perfusion abnormality were derived from 25 patients with right coronary artery (RCA) stenosis greater than 75%. These criteria were applied to 60 consecutive patients with suspected coronary artery disease. RESULTS: Perfusion defects in the RV were larger in patients with proximal RCA stenosis than in those with distal RCA stenosis (mean (SD) 28 (16)% v 6 (5)%, P < 0.001). The sensitivity and specificity of the RV polar map for the detection of proximal RCA stenosis were 67% (8/12) and 98% (47/48), respectively. RV perfusion defects became undetectable in 9 patients who had successful percutaneous transluminal coronary angioplasty to a proximal RCA lesion. CONCLUSIONS: A right ventricular polar map display was useful for visualising exercise-induced right ventricular ischaemia.