Little information is available regarding left ventricular (LV) functional recovery from treadmill exercise. Accordingly, we used a recently described ultrasound index of LV function, the isovolumic index (IVI), to assess LV performance before and after exercise in 9 normal middle-aged men and 12 male patients with coronary artery disease (CAD). The IVI was measured at rest and at each minute for at least 10 min after completion of the Bruce protocol; normals had maximal tests and CAD patients had symptom limited studies. At rest the IVI value for normals was 26.2 ± 2.1 (SD) and it was 43.5 ± 8.2 for CAD patients (p < 0.001); isovolumic times were longer in CAD patients (137 ± 26 vs. 89 ± 8 ms, p < 0.001). The rate of recovery from exercise did not differ between normals and CAD patients. We conclude that despite depression of resting LV performance in CAD patients, the time course of functional recovery of the left ventricle from exercise is not different from normal subjects.