Electrocardiographic manifestations of transient myocardial ischemia were studied, in 11 patients undergoing angioplasty (PTCA) of a left anterior descending coronary artery stenosis, by the visual inspection of the standard surface electrocardiogram (S-ECG) and the intracoronary ECG (IC-ECG) as well as computer-assisted analysis of the S-ECG. Cross-correlation analysis (CCA) performed by computer was used to compare beat-to-beat variability in ST-T morphology of the S-ECG during different stages of PTCA. CCA was also applied to the signal-averaged high-frequency QRS (SA-HFQ). All patients developed angina during balloon inflation, accompanied by transient marked ST-T changes in IC-ECG in 10 of 11 patients (90%). Visual inspection of S-ECG revealed transient ST-T changes in only 6 of 11 (54%). In contrast, CCA of the S-ECG revealed transient ST-T changes in 9 of 11 (82%). Analysis of SA-HFQ revealed that balloon inflation was associated with a marked reduction in the calculated root-mean-square (RMS) voltage for such signals (2.31 ± 1.04 μV) as compared with RMS values before (3.27 ± 1.12 μV, p < .05) PTCA or after conclusion of PTCA (3.79 ± 1.39 μV, p < .01). Balloon inflation was also accompanied by changes in waveform morphology of the SA-HFQ, including the development of new or more prominent time zones of reduced amplitude in 10 of 11 individuals (90%). Such zones may represent slow conduction in regions of the heart rendered ischemic during PTCA. CCA of the S-ECG and of SA-HFQ appears to detect evidence of transient ischemia with greater sensitivity than simple visual inspection of S-ECG, and may therefore prove to be of use in the evaluation of patients with chest pain of uncertain origin.