The coronary morphology of ischemia-related arteries in unstable angina and Q-wave acute myocardial infarction (AMI) has been described. An eccentric stenosis with overhanging edges or irregular borders (type II eccentric) was seen in most lesions <100% occluded and probably represented plaque disruption, nonocclusive thrombus or both. The coronary morphology of non-Q AMI has not been described. Thus, the angiograms of 106 consecutive patients catheterized with either unstable angina (n = 73) or non-Q AMI (n = 33) and an identifiable ischemia-related artery were prospectively analyzed. Non-Q AMI was diagnosed by prolonged chest pain and new and persistent ST-T changes or creatine phosphokinase twice the normal level. The results showed a higher incidence of total occlusion of the ischemia-related artery in non-Q AMI (21%) compared with unstable angina (8%) (p = 0.1). The coronary morphology of nonoccluded ischemiarelated arteries was similar with preponderance of type II eccentric lesions in both unstable angina and non-Q AMI. These lesions were found in 65% of ischemia-related arteries in non-Q AMI but were uncommon (3%) in nonischemia-related arteries with significant (50% to 100%) stenoses. Therefore, the type II eccentric lesion is a sensitive and specific marker of <100% occluded ischemia-related arteries in both unstable angina and non-Q AMI. These similarities in coronary morphology suggest a similar pathogenesis, which, as previously suggested, may relate to plaque disruption with or without thrombus. Unstable angina and non-Q AMI appear to represent part of a continuous spectrum of acute coronary artery disease. Further, the management of patients with non-Q AMI should be similar to patients with unstable angina and possibly include anticoagulation and consideration for early catheterization.