The burnout syndrome denotes a constellation of physical fatigue, emotional exhaustion, and cognitive weariness resulting from chronic stress. Although it overlaps considerably with chronic fatigue as defined in internal medicine, its links with physical illness have not been systematically investigated. This exploratory study, conducted among 104 male workers free from cardiovascular disease (CVD), tested the association between burnout and two of its common concomitants--tension and listlessness--and cardiovascular risk factors. After ruling out five possible confounders (age, relative weight, smoking, alcohol use, and sports activity), the authors found that scores on burnout plus tension (tense-burnout) were associated with somatic complaints, cholesterol, glucose, triglycerides, uric acid, and, marginally, with ECG abnormalities. Workers scoring high on tense-burnout also had a significantly higher low density lipoprotein (LDL) level. Conversely, scores on burnout plus listlessness were significantly associated with glucose and negatively with diastolic blood pressure. The findings warrant further study of burnout as a predictor of cardiovascular morbidity and mortality.