7 consecutive patients with congestive heart failure refractory to standard therapy were treated with nitroglycerin ointment (GTNO). The pulmonary wedge pressure decreased from a control value of 30 ± 1 to 15 ± 1 mm Hg (mean ± SEM), and the arteriovenous oxygen difference narrowed from 6.8 ± 0.5 to 5.5 ± 0.3 ml%, after GTNO therapy. The heart rate decreased in 5 patients and the systolic blood pressure was either unchanged or decreased slightly. A reduction in the echocardiographic end diastolic dimension was noted in all patients. The transmyocardial gradient (systemic artery diastolic pressure – pulmonary artery wedge pressure) increased in all except 1 subject. The double product decreased in 5 of the 7 patients. Hemodynamic improvement was maintained for 4.5–7 h. All patients were symptomatically improved on chronic GTNO treatment. Our results indicate that GTNO is a useful agent in the management of heart failure which is unresponsive to standard therapy.