An epidemiological study to find out the prevalence of coronary heart disease (CHD) and the influence of risk factors on the prevalence of CHD in a total rural community of Punjab was conducted in Pohir, situated near Ludhiana. A total of 1100 individuals (623 males and 477 females) out of a possible 1617 individuals (> 30 yrs) living in 3 villages were studied. In each case a detailed history, physical examination and a 12 lead electrocardiogram (ECG) were recorded. Samples for blood sugar and serum cholesterol were taken. By Epstein's criteria of ECG (using the Minnesota coding), the prevalence of CHD was 30.8/1000, being higher in women (37.7/1000) than in men (25.6/1000). By a clinical judgement method considering history, ECG and treadmill testing (TMT) collectively, prevalence was 31.8/1000, being still higher in women (33.5/1000) than in men (30.5/1000). The prevalence of various risk factors like hypertension, smoking, hypercholesterolemia and diabetes was found to be 14.5%, 8.9%, 7.0% and 4.6% respectively. Of the various risk factors tested, hypertension, hypercholesterolemia and a positive family history showed an association with CHD. Only 38% of patients with CHD, 37% of the hypertensives and 52% of the diabetics were aware of its presence. The knowledge in the general population about risk factors causing CHD is poor.