We examined prospectively the hypothesis that the adequacy of initial dilatation may be a major determinant of the late result of coronary angioplasty and that a better assessment of initial dilatation can be made from a combined angiographic and perfusion study than from angiography alone. Angiographic and perfusion (thallium-201 singlephoton-emission computed tomography) measurements were made very early (18 to 24 hours) after coronary angioplasty in 59 patients (67 lesions) and also immediately (37 ± 16 minutes) after the procedure in 19 of them (23 lesions). The early measurements, singly, in combination, and as a restenosis index (restenosis index = thallium-201 ischemic score (units) - minimal luminal area (squared millimeters) were examined as predictors of the late angiographic result. At late angiography (5.5 ± 2.2 months after angioplasty), residual stenosis was related to the immediate and very early postangioplasty minimal luminal dimension, thallium-201 ischemic score, and restenosis index, and also to day-1 loss and lesion length. The combination of a normal result in the immediate or early thallium-201 perfusion study with a larger (≥2 mm) angiographic luminal dimension stratified a group of patients with better long-term results after angioplasty and a lower incidence of late restenosis (p = 0.03). The findings emphasize the importance of the initial procedure as a determinant of the late result of angioplasty.