In a consecutive series of 96 patients with coronary artery occlusion, 67 had good and 29 had no or poor collateral circulation. Patients with good collaterals had the severest degree of coronary artery disease. Good collaterals are associated with a higher incidence of angina pectoris and normal electrocardiogram and with lower incidence of Q-waves, positive exercise tests, heart failure, previous myocardial infarction, and dyskinesia at ventriculography. Survival rates after 10 years were (1) 51.5% with good and 34.5% with poor collaterals (p less than 0.1), (2) 59.4% with angina pectoris and good collaterals and 41.2% with angina pectoris and poor collaterals (p less than 0.05), (3) 64.8% without and 24.4% with heart failure and good collaterals (p less than 0.001), and (4) 58.3% without and 16.1% with heart failure and poor collaterals (p less than 0.01). Good collaterals protect the myocardium by prevention of acute myocardial infarction and heart failure and thus improve survival.