Epidemiological and metabolic studies indicate that a higher intake of trans fatty acids (TFA) may be associated with increased risk of coronary heart disease (CHD). In a cross-sectional study of patients who underwent coronary angiography, the relationships between TFAs, measured in platelets, and the degree of coronary artery disease (CAD) were examined in 191 non-diabetic patients (134 men and 57 women). The degree of CAD was quantified by using an angiographic scoring system developed to provide an estimate of the extent of coronáry atherosclerosis: an "extent score'. The TFA composition of platelets, including palmitelaidic (16:1 omega 7t), elaidic (18:1 omega 9t), trans-10-octadecaenoic acid (18:1 omega 8t), trans vaccenic (18:1 omega 7t), trans-12-octadecaenoic acid (18:1 omega 6t) and linoelaidic (18:2 omega 6tt) acids, was measured by using gas chromatography and quantified as a percentage of total fatty acids. After adjustment for established CHD risk indicators, including age, gender, cigarette smoking, hypertension and serum total cholesterol concentration, elaidic acid (P = 0.0300) and trans-10-octadecaenoic acid (P = 0.0434) were positively associated with the extent score of CAD. The adjusted associations between other individual TFAs, including palmitelaidic acid (P = 0.1189), vaccenic acid (P = 0.7651), trans-12-octadecaenoic acid (P = 0.0582) and linoelaidic acid (P = 0.8793), and the extent score were not significant. The results of this study, therefore, provide evidence for an association between particular platelet TFAs and the degree of CAD in the patient population studied.