Hypertension is associated with structural changes in the vascular system and in the heart. This study has examined the relationships between carotid artery intima-media thickness and other risk factors in 52 untreated patients (20 hypertensive). Carotid intima-media thickness was measured bilaterally using a Duplex doppler ultrasonic scanner. In the hypertensive individuals the left ventricle was examined by echo-cardiography and the left ventricular mass index determined. There was a significant association between age and IMT, and both SBP and DBP and IMT. The IMT in the hypertensive group was significantly larger than in the normotensive group and in the hypertensive subjects there was a positive association between left ventricular mass index and IMT. There was no significant difference in calculated media stress between the normotensive and hypertensive groups, probably due to a small increase in carotid intima-media area combined with a small reduction in carotid lumen diameter. Hypertension is associated with a thickening of the intima-media of the carotid artery and an increase in left ventricular mass. Whether these changes in cardiac and arterial structure are in response to similar influences remains to be established.