We studied retrospectively, 412 consecutive Asian patients undergoing coronary artery bypass grafting between January 1st, 1982 and June 30th, 1987. The mean age was 55 +/- 9 years at operation with a 70.5% male predominance. Patients of Chinese origin accounted for 60.9%, Indonesian for 26.4%, Indian 9.9% and Malaysian 2.6%. Chronic stable angina was the most consistent presenting symptom in 71% and 49% had at least one myocardial infarction in the past. Fifty percent were hypertensive and 26% diabetic. Left main stem coronary artery obstruction was evident in 21.6% and the coronary arteries diffusely diseased in 53%. An average of 3.8 +/- 0.4 grafts were performed per patient using reversed saphenous vein, and endarterectomies were necessitated in 27.1%. The small calibre of coronary arteries in Asian patients was reflected by 54% of grafted vessels having a luminal diameter of 1.5 mm. The early mortality rate and the peri-operative myocardial infarction rate was 1.2% in each instance. A mean follow-up of 30 months revealed a late mortality of 1.9% and 76% of patients were in NYHA Functional Class I. This study suggests that despite a high incidence of hypertension, diabetes and diffuse coronary artery disease Asian patients tolerate coronary artery bypass graft surgery well and obtain significant benefit from it.