Arm exercise with myocardial scintigraphy and oxygen consumption determinations was performed by 33 men with peripheral vascular disease, 40 to 74 years of age (group 2). None had evidence of coronary disease. Nineteen age-matched male control subjects (group 1) were also tested to determine the normal endurance and oxygen consumption during arm exercise in their age group and to compare the results with those obtained during a standard treadmill performance. The maximal heart rate, systolic blood pressure, pressure rate product, and oxygen consumption were all significantly lower for arm than for leg exercise. However, there was good correlation between all these parameters for both types of exertion. The maximal heart rate, work load and oxygen consumption were greater for group 1 subjects than in patients with peripheral vascular disease despite similar activity status. None of the group 1 subjects had abnormal arm exercise ECGs, while six members of group 2 had ST segment changes. Thallium-201 scintigraphy performed in the latter group demonstrated perfusion defects in 25 patients. After nine to 29 months of follow-up, three patients who had abnormal tests developed angina and one of them required coronary bypass surgery. Arm exercise with myocardial scintigraphy may be an effective method of detecting occult ischemia in patients with peripheral vascular disease. Those with good exercise tolerance and no electrocardiographic changes or 201T1 defects are probably at lower risk for the development of cardiac complications, while those who develop abnormalities at low exercise levels may be candidates for invasive studies.