Although survival after cardiac transplantation has improved since the introduction of cyclosporine to clinical practice in 1980, the long-term hemodynamic results of transplantation in cyclosporine-treated recipients has not been reported. Annual cardiac catheterization data for 109 cyclosporine-treated recipients were analyzed and compared to those of a nonconcurrent group of 65 recipients treated with azathioprine and corticosteroids. Recipient age, donor age, sex, and human leukocyte antigen mismatch were comparable for the two groups. Satisfactory left ventricular function of the cyclosporine-treated heart was characterized on the first annual study by a normal ejection fraction (60% +/- 10%), cardiac index (3.0 +/- 0.8 L/min/m2) and stroke work index (53 +/- 15 gm-m/m2) associated with moderately increased left ventricular end-diastolic pressures (12 +/- 6 mm Hg) and significantly increased mean aortic pressures (116 +/- 8 mm Hg). With the exception of aortic diastolic pressure, which tended to increase with time, the mean values of each variable analyzed did not change significantly over the period of study. In comparison to the azathioprine group, the cyclosporine cohort displayed higher aortic, left ventricular end-diastolic, and pulmonary artery pressures and produced more stroke work at each annual study. Analysis of the azathioprine group over extended (8 year) follow-up suggested excellent preservation of graft function. In summary, the long-term hemodynamic function of the transplanted heart treated with cyclosporine was satisfactory, demonstrated no deterioration over 5 year follow-up, but manifested substantially greater hypertension than hearts from the pre-cyclosporine era.