The present study has been performed to assess the effects of alinidine on diastolic duration during exercise in chronic coronary artery disease. Twelve male patients with stable effort angina and without previous myocardial infarction were studied. They received alinidine or placebo in a double-blind randomized crossover trial for 3 days after a wash-out period of 4 days. Alinidine was administered at a dosage of 30 mg 3 times a day. At the end of each treatment the patients underwent upright bicycle exercise. Left ventricular time intervals were obtained by means of carotid thermistor plethysmography. Diastolic duration was calculated by subtracting the electromechanical systole from the R-R interval and expressed as a percentage of the cardiac cycle (%D). Alinidine increased both total exercise duration from 246.7 ± 120.7 to 346.6 ± 114.1 s (p < 0.05) and time to 0.1-mV ST segment depression from 98.3 ± 53 to 187.2 ± 105 s (p < 0.05). Similarly the drug induced a reduction of the rate-pressure product and of the extent of ischemic ST segment depression during exercise. %D was increased by alinidine both at rest and during exercise. A direct linear regression between R-R and %D was found after both alinidine and placebo treatments either at rest or during exercise. Nevertheless, no difference was observed between both slopes and intercepts. Therefore, since the relationship between R-R interval and %D was unaffected by alinidine, it was possible to hypothesize that the changes in diastolic duration were due only to the bradycardic action of the drug.