This paper attempts to review our studies on the early haemodynamic, metabolic and electrophysiological consequences of acute coronary artery ligation in an experimental model which allows the simultaneous assessment of blood flow and sampling of blood from both normal and acutely ischaemic zones of myocardium. 1. Using local coronary venous sampling, it has been observed that the major metabolic changes which occur in the ischaemic zone during the first 30 min after coronary artery ligation are increases in PCO2, decreases in pH and oxygen content, a shift in lactate handling from extraction to production and an efflux of K+. These changes were not observed in coronary sinus blood draining essentially nonischaemic zones of myocardium. 2. The major haemodynamic change produced by coronary artery ligation was cardiac depression (decreased stroke volume and cardiac work), unchanged LV dP/dt with an elevated filling pressure. 3. Acute ligation of the anterior descending branch of the left coronary artery, l.a.d., resulted in bursts of ventricular ectopic activity which was especially marked 10-20 min after ligation and which frequently resulted in ventricular fibrillation. The incidence of arrhythmias could be modified by the species of dog used, the anaesthetic employed, the arterial oxygen tension and the administration of several antiarrhythmic drugs. The possible relevance observed in the ischaemic myocardium, to the genesis of these arrhythmias is discussed. 4. The changes in the ST-segment of epicardial leads produced by short (3 min) occlusions of the l.a.d. were studied in mongrel dogs. Evidence is presented which suggests that the evolution of ST-segment elevation is linked to the efflux of K+ from ischaemic myocardial cells.