Quantification of stress echocardiography may overcome the training requirements and subjective nature of visual wall motion score (WMS) assessment, but quantitative approaches may be difficult to apply and require significant time for image processing. The integral of long-axis myocardial velocity is displacement, which may be represented as a color map over the left ventricular myocardium. This study was designed to explore the feasibility and accuracy of measuring long-axis myocardial displacement, derived from tissue Doppler, for the detection of coronary artery disease (CAD) during dobutamine stress echocardiography (DBE). One hundred thirty patients underwent standard DBE, including 30 patients at low risk of CAD, 30 patients with normal coronary angiography (both groups studied to define normal ranges of displacement), and 70 patients who underwent coronary angiography in whom the accuracy of normal ranges was tested. Regional myocardial displacement was obtained by analysis of color tissue Doppler apical images acquired at peak stress. Displacement was compared with WMS, and with the presence of CAD by angiography. The analysis time was 3.2 +/- 1.5 minutes per patient. Segmental displacement was correlated with wall motion (normal 7.4 +/- 3.2 mm, ischemia 5.8 +/- 4.2 mm, viability 4.6 +/- 3.0 mm, scar 4.5 +/- 3.5 mm, p <0.001). Reversal of normal base-apex displacement was an insensitive (19%) but specific (90%) marker of CAD. The sum of displacements within each vascular territory had a sensitivity and specificity of 89% and 79%, respectively, for prediction of significant CAD, compared with 86% and 78%, respectively, for WMS (p = NS). The displacements in the basal segments had a sensitivity and specificity of 83% and 78%, respectively (p = NS). Regional myocardial displacement during DBE is feasible and offers a fast and accurate method for the diagnosis of CAD.