Coronary arteriograms are increasingly acquired and stored in digital format, which allows instantaneous review of the pictorial data during the cardiac catheterization procedure. To support the angiographer in choosing the optimal sizes of the recanalization devices and studying the efficacy of the recanalization procedures, we have developed a new analytical software package (Automated Coronary Analysis = ACA) on the Philips DCI (-SX) digital cardiac imaging system. The ACA-package allows the objective and reproducible assessment of the morphologic and functional severity of coronary obstructions. Required user interaction is limited to the definition of the start and end points of the coronary segment to be analyzed. Automated contour detection is based on the use of first and second derivative functions along scanlines perpendicular to the automatically computed vessel pathline in the first iteration and perpendicular to the initial contours in the second iteration. These derivative functions have been modified based on the line spread function of the X-ray imaging chain, which is of particular importance for the accurate measurement of small vessel sizes. Phantom studies have indeed demonstrated that vessel sizes down to 0.66 mm can be measured accurately and reproducibly. Inter- and intraobserver variability studies have demonstrated a variability in the obstruction diameter of 0.11 mm and 0.10 mm, respectively, and in the percent diameter stenosis of 5.64% and 3.18%, respectively. These variability studies have been extended to short-term studies with repeated acquisition in the same angiographic views after 5 min and to medium-term studies with repeated acquisition in the initial angiographic views at the end of the catheterization procedures. With these standardized repeated acquisition and analysis procedures, the variabilities in the obstruction diameters increased to 0.19 and 0.18 mm, respectively, and remained below 6% in the percent diameter stenosis (5.61% and 5.28%, respectively). With an analysis time of approximately 15 sec on the DCI-SX, an efficient tool is now available in the catheterization laboratory for the objective and reproducible assessment of vessel dimensions and changes therein as a result of recanalization procedures.