Regional variation of tracer distribution is seen in uncorrected thallium-201 images of normal hearts. This study evaluates the effect of attenuation correction on myocardial 201T1 distribution in patients with low risk of coronary artery disease. An L-shaped dual-detector single-photon emission tomographic system equipped with a pair gadolinium-153 scanning line sources was used for sequential emission/transmission imaging in 36 patients (14 men and 22 women) with less than 5% risk for coronary artery disease. Uncorrected emission images were reconstructed using filtered back-projection (FBP) whereas the attenuation corrected (AC) images were iteratively reconstructed using the attenuation map computed from the transmission data. Both sets of images were reorientated into short axis, vertical long axis and horizontal long axis images. For quantification data were reconstructed into polar plots and count density estimated in 17 myocardial segments. The population % standard deviation for each segment of AC data was significantly smaller than that for FBP data, indicating improved homogeneity of tracer distribution. In men the anterior-basal inferior activity ratio improved from 1.20 for FBP to 0.96 for AC (stress) and from 1.23 for FBP to 0.98 for AC (delay) (P < 0.0001). In women the anterior-basal inferior activity ratio changed from 1.08 for FBP to 0.94 for AC (stress) and from 1.08 for FBP to 0.93 for AC (delay) (P < 0.001). These ratios reflect appropriate compensation for basal attenuation but a lack of scatter correction. The lateral-septal activity ratio in men changed from 1.05 for FBP to 0.99 for AC (stress) and from 1.02 for FBP to 0.96 for AC (delay), while in women it changed from 1.05 for FBP to 0.98 for AC (stress) and from 1.04 for FBP to 0.98 for AC (delay) (P < 0.005 in all cases). The apex of AC images showed a decrease in activity consistent with wall thining at this site. It is concluded that the use of attenuation correction yields improved homogeneity of myocardial tracer distribution in patients with low risk of coronary artery disease. The diagnostic benefits of attenuation correction are yet to be fully assessed.