Maintenance of right heart integrity is frequently neglected during coronary operations. Right ventricular dysfunction sometimes limits the success of the surgical procedure, however. In addition to the use of cardioplegic solutions, myocardial hypothermia during ischemic cardiac arrest seems to be an important factor for guaranteeing right ventricular performance thereafter. This study was designed to measure myocardial temperature in patients with coronary artery disease who have significant stenosis of the right coronary artery in comparison with those who do not have stenosis of the right coronary artery and to evaluate the influence of myocardial temperature on right ventricular hemodynamics after cardiopulmonary bypass. Right ventricular function was assessed by thermodilution technique, which allows measurement of right ventricular ejection fraction, right ventricular end-diastolic volume, and right ventricular end-systolic volume. Right ventricular temperature differed significantly between the two groups, with the lowest value of 15.1 degrees +/- 1.8 degrees C in the group without stenosis of the right coronary artery and a value of 22.2 degrees +/- 2.1 degrees C in the group with stenosis of the right coronary artery. Left ventricular and septal temperatures were without group differences within the investigation period. Right ventricular hemodynamics were impaired only in the group with stenosis of the right coronary artery with a decrease in right ventricular ejection fraction from 44.2% to 34.1% immediately after termination of bypass and an increase in right ventricular end-diastolic volume index (+38%) and right ventricular end-systolic volume index (+70%). Cardiac index decreased only in this group, too (-22.5%). Analysis of covariance revealed a significant correlation only between changes in right ventricular ejection fraction, right ventricular end-diastolic volume, and right ventricular end-systolic volume and the course of right myocardial temperature. It is concluded that right ventricular hypothermia is more difficult to achieve in patients with a diseased right coronary artery. Constant myocardial hypothermia, however, seems to be important in guaranteeing right ventricular function, which easily can be evaluated by the thermodilution technique.