The Cardiovascular Health Study provided the opportunity to determine the association of subclinical and clinical cardiovascular disease with pulmonary function in a population sample of elderly adults. Included were 2,955 women and 2,246 men over age 64 years who were recruited for this observational study from four communities and completed extensive examinations that included spirometry, echocardiograms, and blood pressure. Current smokers, past smokers with >20 pack-years of smoking, and persons with a history of asthma, chronic bronchitis, or emphysema were excluded from this analysis, leaving 2,784 (55%) of the cohort. Systolic hypertension or coronary artery disease was associated with 40- to 100-mL decrements in FEV1, and 50- to 150-mL decrements in FVC, while a history of congestive heart failure was associated with 200 to 300 mL lower FEV1 and FVC values (p < 0.0001), after correcting for age, height, and waist size. Higher left ventricular (LV) mass was also significantly associated with a decrease in FEV1 and FVC in multivariate models. This relationship was strongest with the end-diastolic LV posterior wall thickness component of LV mass. In summary, FEV1 and FVC are reduced in elderly persons with hypertension, ischemic heart disease, higher disease, higher LV mass, and congestive heart failure, though the magnitude of these associations is relatively small unless heart failure supervenes. Substantial decrements in percent predicted FEV1 and FVC should not be attributed to the presence of uncomplicated ischemic heart disease or hypertension alone.