Real-time electrocardiographic monitoring for silent myocardial ischemia was performed on 200 patients undergoing peripheral vascular surgery to try to better define those at high risk of perioperative myocardial infarction. The patients were divided into those undergoing abdominal aortic aneurysm or lower extremity revascularization procedures (group I, n = 120) and those undergoing carotid artery endarterectomy (group II, n = 80). Silent ischemia was detected during the preoperative, intraoperative, or post-operative periods in 60.8% of group I and 67.5% of group II patients. Six group I and three group II patients suffered an acute perioperative myocardial infarction with two cardiac deaths. In both groups I and II a variety of parameters based on monitoring of silent myocardial ischemia were compared between the subgroups of patients who had myocardial infarction and those who did not. The results show that in both groups there was a significantly (p less than or equal to 0.05) greater total duration of perioperative ischemic time, total number of perioperative ischemic episodes, and total duration of perioperative ischemic time as a percent of total monitoring time in patients who suffered a perioperative myocardial infarction compared to those who did not. Multivariate logistic regression analysis of preoperative characteristics in all 200 patients showed the occurrence of preoperative silent myocardial ischemia and angina at rest to be the only significant predictors of perioperative myocardial infarction. Thus perioperative monitoring for silent myocardial ischemia might noninvasively identify those patients undergoing peripheral vascular surgery who are at increased risk for perioperative myocardial infarction, permitting implementation of timely preventive measures in selected patients.