Cardiac catheterization findings were used in 50 patients to determine the degree of aortic regurgitation from pressure recordings in the ascending aorta. The time needed for aortic pressure to drop to half its initial value (half-time), starting 100 msec after the onset of the dicrotic notch, was found to vary with the severity of aortic regurgitation. Normal and hypertensive subjects had half-times that ranged between 950 and 750 msec. Mild regurgitation led to values that varied from 750 to 600 msec. Moderate regurgitation was present when the half-time was between 600 and 400 msec, whereas values below 400 msec were consistent with severe regurgitation. Exercise caused no significant change in half-time when the aortic valve was normal, even though cardiac output and mean ascending aortic pressure increased. When aortic regurgitation was present, exercise shortened the half-time whenever the mean ascending aortic pressure increased. When aortic regurgitation was severe, increases in ascending aortic pressure and cardiac output during exercise did not alter the half-time. The degree of aortic stenosis complicating the regurgitation did not affect the half-time measurement.