Abstract 1. 1. Hemodynamic effects of physiological (0.04 and 0.07 mM) and high (8, 15 and 25 mM) L-carnitine (LC) concentrations were tested on the normally oxygenated and hypoxic perfused rat heart. 2. 2. No effect was detected on aerobic hearts, whereas a dose-dependent rise in coronary flow (CF) during both the hyperemic and constrictive phases was observed in hypoxic hearts with 8, 15 and 25 mM LC. This action was apparently unrelated to a resting tension (RT) improvement, which was observed only with 25 mM LC. 3. 3. When 11 mM glucose was replaced by 11 mM mannitol in the perfusion buffer, LC effects on the hyperemic phase were abolished; however, 25 mM LC resulted in CF-values still significantly higher than those detected without the drug, though RT was similar in these glucose-free groups. 4. 4. It may be concluded that LC is ineffective on the perfused rat heart in aerobic conditions, whereas high LC concentrations can enhance CF only during hypoxia, these effects being independent of heart function improvements and partly unrelated to glucose presence.