Over an 11-year period, the initial and late outcomes of percutaneous transluminal coronary angioplasty (PTCA) were studied in 140 consecutive patients younger than 40 years of age (mean, 34 +/- 3 years; range, 23 to 39 years; 132 men). Before the procedure, 28% of the patients had unstable angina, and 44% had a history of prior myocardial infarction. Mean left ventricular ejection fraction was 64% +/- 10%, and 75% of the patients had one-vessel disease. Primary success was 86% (77% for the first 70 patients vs 93% for the last 70, p < 0.02). Complications were nine periprocedural myocardial infarctions, eight emergency coronary surgical procedures, and no deaths. During follow-up (mean, 6 +/- 3 years; range, 1 to 12 years), 39 (28%) of the 104 patients who had repeat coronary angiography had angiographic restenosis (all < 6 months after PTCA). Late events were 13 elective coronary surgical procedures (11 for restenosis, one for failed PTCA, and one for progression of coronary artery disease), 13 PTCAs on a new site, five deaths, and four nonfatal myocardial infarctions. Ten-year survival was 96% +/- 1%, and 10-year event-free survival (without myocardial infarction, elective coronary surgery, or repeat PTCA) was 58% +/- 6%. Among survivors, 88% were free of angina, and 93% had returned to work. In patients younger than 40 years of age, PTCA yields excellent long-term survival, provided that the eventuality of repeat procedures during the first months is accepted. In addition, PTCA for progression on a new site is not unusual after several years.