From September 1989 to September 1992, the right gastroepiploic artery in combination with one or both internal mammary arteries was used as a graft in 300 patients who underwent coronary artery bypass grafting. The gastroepiploic artery was the primary choice in preference to the saphenous vein. The study comprised 263 men and 37 women, ranging in age from 31 to 77 years (median age 59 years). Thirty-nine patients (13%) underwent previous bypass procedures with autologous vein grafts. In 17 patients (5.7%) the gastroepiploic artery was used as a single graft. In 150 patients (50%) the gastroepiploic artery in conjunction with one internal mammary artery was used (in 6 patients combined with a vein graft). In 133 patients (44.3%) the gastroepiploic artery was used with both internal mammary arteries. Revascularization in nine patients (3%) was combined with another cardiac procedure; three aortic valve replacements, two mitral valve repairs, and four resections of a left ventricular aneurysm. Ten patients died in the hospital (3.3%; 70% confidence limits 2.3% to 4.8%); two of these patients had an infarction in the area revascularized by the gastroepiploic artery. At late follow-up, 0.5 to 39 months (mean 14 months) after the operation, we found no mortality. One patient with an occluded gastroepiploic artery graft underwent reoperation with the use of the right internal mammary artery. One patient underwent percutaneous transluminal coronary angioplasty of the right coronary artery after occlusion of the gastroepiploic artery. Elective recatheterization was done in 88 patients 1 to 25 months after operation (mean 10 months). Graft patency in gastroepiploic artery grafts increased steadily from 77% in the first semester of the study to 95% in the fourth semester and then equaled the patency of the internal mammary artery grafts (97%), which was almost constant during the whole period. We conclude that patency of the gastroepiploic artery was initially related to a ''learning curve'' but eventually equaled that of the internal mammary artery grafts. Furthermore, the gastroepiploic artery may well be the graft of choice in conjunction with the internal mammary arteries.