The Sixth Conference on the "Standards of Laboratory Practice Series", sponsored by the National Academy of Clinical Biochemistry (NACB), was held on August 4-5, 1998, at the Annual Meeting of the American Association for Clinical Chemistry, in Chicago, IL. An expert committee was assembled to write recommendations on the use of cardiac markers in coronary artery diseases. The NACB Committee prepared a preliminary draft of the guidelines, made them available on the World Wide Web (www.nacb.org), and distributed them before the presentations. The recommendations were divided into four areas: the use of markers in the triage of patients with chest pain, acute coronary syndromes, clinical applications other than acute myocardial infarction and research, and assay platforms and markers of acute myocardial infarction. The recommendations were revised and subsequently re-presented in part at the "Biomarkers in Acute Cardiac Syndromes Conference", sponsored by the Jewish Hospital Heart and Lung Institute, Louisville KY, on October 16-17, 1998. This report lists each recommendation, its scientific justification, and a summary of discussions from conference participants and reviewers. Approximately 100 individuals responded to various versions of these recommendations via direct correspondences, telephone calls to Committee members, electronic mail correspondence to the Committee Chairman, or oral questions and comments raised during one of the two conference presentations. Some of the recommendations were changed to reflect the consensus opinion. In cases in which there was no consensus, the Committee included pertinent discussion without necessarily changing the original recommendations. At times, the Committee members felt that although a particular recommendation might not be the current standard of care today, they anticipate that it likely will be adopted in the near future.