Plasma serotonin concentrations, assayed as plasma 5-hydroxyindoles (5-HI) and platelet 5-hydroxytryptamine (5-HT), were measured in 12 patients undergoing coronary artery graft surgery (group 1) and five patients undergoing valve replacement (group 2). Mean values of plasma 5-HI before cardiopulmonary bypass (CPB) were 29.8 +/- 2.0 ng ml-1 in group 1 and 30.6 +/- 2.8 ng ml-1 in group 2. No significant changes of plasma 5-HI occurred during or after CPB in either group. Although postoperative hypertension occurred in 75% of group 1 patients, no significant correlation was found between plasma 5-HI concentration and systolic blood pressure. A significant increase of platelet 5-HT occurred during bypass (327 ng/2 X 10(8) platelets increasing to 488 ng/2 X 10(8) platelets, p less than 0.01) but returned to baseline values postoperatively. We conclude that plasma 5-HI concentrations are not involved in the pathophysiology of postoperative hypertension following myocardial revascularization.