Associated coronary artery disease is the critical factor that influences early and late mortality after abdominal aortic aneurysm surgery. Dipyridamole-thallium 201 scintigraphy, left ventricular ejection fraction, and Goldman risk factor analysis have been suggested as preoperative noninvasive screening methods to detect significant coronary artery disease. In this series of 95 elective abdominal aortic aneurysm repairs dipyridamole-thallium 201 scintigraphy was highly predictive of the absence of perioperative cardiac morbidity (96% specificity, 44/46 normal scans, no cardiac morbidity), whereas ejection fraction (73% specificity, 31/42 normal ejection fraction, no cardiac morbidity) and Goldman risk factor analysis (84% specificity, 44/51 class I, no cardiac morbidity) were less. Furthermore, thallium redistribution on dipyridamole-thallium 201 scintigraphy leading to coronary angiography identified a significant number of patients with occult coronary artery disease who required preoperative coronary revascularization (8%, 8/95) and might have remained undetected on the basis of left ventricular ejection fraction or Goldman risk factor analysis. Finally, fixed thallium deficit, which some investigators have interpreted as a low probability finding for cardiac morbidity, was associated with a higher than expected incidence of cardiac complications. Forty-six percent (7/15) of all postoperative cardiac complications (three myocardial infarctions, three ischemic events, one death) occurred in patients with abdominal aortic aneurysms with fixed deficits. This suggests that patients with fixed deficits on dipyridamole-thallium 201 scintigraphy should be considered for later "delayed" (4 hours) thallium images or coronary angiography or both.