Chronic left ventricular dysfunctional but viable myocardium of patients with chronic hibernation is characterized by structural changes, which consist of depletion of contractile elements, accumulation of glycogen, nuclear chromatin dispersion, depletion of sarcoplasmic reticulum and mitochondrial shape changes. These alterations are not reminiscent of degeneration but are interpreted as de-differentiation of the cardiomyocytes. The above mentioned changes are accompanied by a marked increase in the interstitial space. The present study describes qualitative and quantitative changes in the cellular and non-cellular compartments of the interstitial space. In chronic hibernating myocardial segments the increased extracellular matrix is filled with large amounts of type I collagen, type III collagen and fibronectin. An increase in the number of vimentin-positive cells (endothelial cells and fibroblasts) compared with normal myocardium is seen throughout the extracellular matrix. The increase in interstitial tissue is considered as one of the main determinants responsible for the lack of immediate recovery of contractile function after restoration of the blood flow to the affected myocardial segments of patients with chronic left ventricular dysfunction.