Of a total of 1,435 healthy untrained asymptomatic individuals referred for a routine periodic check-up, 23 subjects with exertional hypotension on upright bicycle stress testing were identified. All were male. This study assesses by means of echocardiography the responses to exercise of left ventricular (LV) volumes, ejection fraction and segmental LV contractility in these subjects. Exertional hypotension was defined as a decrease in systolic blood pressure to below the resting value at the end of stress test. Supine systolic blood pressure after exercise was significantly greater in the control group than in the study group (179 vs 121 mm Hg, respectively; p < 0.001); there was no significant intra- or intergroup difference in the resting values. In the study group end-systolic volume was 37 ml at rest and 35 ml after exercise; ejection fraction varied from 65% at rest to 63% after exercise. The sex- and age-matched control group with a normal systolic blood pressure response to exercise showed a shift from 35 to 23 ml and 65 to 77%, respectively (p < 0.01 and 0.001). Ejection fraction correlated well with radionuclide angiography values. Exertional hypotension was noted after both upright and supine exercise. The pattern of regional wall motion remained unchanged or was hypokinetic in 87% of the subjects; only 13% presented the normally expected hyperkinesia after exercise. This study demonstrates that exertional hypotension is accompanied by an abnormal LV performance.