The effect of 330 kcal/day diet on cardiac function, blood pressure and cardiac chambers was studied in 34 obese subjects, using radionuclide ventriculography, intra-arterial ambulatory blood pressure recording and echocardiography. The group included 15 hypertensives and nine with coronary artery disease. After 4 weeks dieting, mean body weight fell from 105.6 +/- 22 kg to 96.1 +/- 19 kg (P less than 0.001), mean blood pressure fell from 157 +/- 23 to 144 +/- 21 mmHg systolic and 90 +/- 15 to 85 +/- 13 mmHg diastolic (P less than 0.001). The resting left ventricular ejection fraction after dieting fell significantly only in the hypertensive group (P less than 0.0005). Left ventricular ejection fraction response to exercise was impaired in all subjects. After weight loss this returned to normal except in the coronary artery disease group. There was a significant reduction in left ventricular internal dimensions, left ventricular fraction shortening and left ventricular mass after weight loss.