Extracorporeal circulation during open-heart surgery may damage cellular and humoral factors in the blood. Phagocytic functions of circulating polymorphonuclear leukocytes were investigated in 10 patients 1 day before, then 1 hour, 2, 4 and 10 days after open-heart surgery. Transient diminutions in the phagocytic capacity of polymorphs was found for Staphylococcus aureus and Escherichia coli in one patient, and E. coli only in two patients up to the 4th postsurgical day. A positive correlation was found between the duration of extracorporeal circulation and the transient diminutions in phagocytic capacity for these three patients. However, the bactericidal capacity of polymorphs and their capacity to reduce nitroblue tetrazolium were normal in all patients. The serum concentrations of total hemolytic complement, C3, IgG and IgM were generally diminished up to the 4th day after surgery, but the opsonic power of the serum was almost normal in all the patients.