Accumulating evidence suggests that the immune system is involved in atherogenesis, such as the correlation of the antibody titre to heat shock protein (hsp) with atherosclerotic lesions in the carotid and coronary arteries. Because the prognostic value of the hsp antibody titre for future cardiovascular events has not been evaluated until now, we performed a follow-up study on 195 subjects without a history of established cardiovascular risk factors (e.g. hypercholesterolaemia, diabetes, smoking), recruited for hsp antibody titre determination in 1995. Cardiovascular events were defined as unstable angina with the need for hospitalisation, myocardial infarction, re-vascularisation (PTCA, bypass), stroke and cardiovascular death. Among 79 men with coronary artery disease defined by coronary angiography, hsp antibody titres were signficantly higher in those with future cardiovascular events (467.0 ± 56.3) than in patients without further events (351.0 ± 23.3; p < 0.049). Because anti-hsp-antibody titres might be of prognostic value for coronary artery disease, patients with an increased hsp antibody titre should obtain intensive management of classical risk factors.