The identification of ischemic and hibernating myocardium facilitates the selection of patients most likely to benefit from revascularization. This study examined the feasibility of metabolic imaging, using post-exercise F-18 deoxyglucose positron emission tomography (FDG-PET) for the diagnosis of both ischemia and hibernation in 27 patients with known coronary anatomy. Normal post-exercise FDG uptake was defined in each patient by reference to normal resting perfusion and normal coronary supply. Abnormal elevation of FDG (ischemia or hibernation) was compared in 13 myocardial segments in each patient, with the results of dipyridamole stress perfusion imaging performed by rubidium-82 positron emission tomography (Rb-PET). Myocardial ischemia was diagnosed by either FDG-PET or Rb-PET in 34 segments subtended by significant local coronary stenoses. Increased FDG uptake was present in 32/34 (94%) and a reversible perfusion defect was identified by Rb-PET in 22/34 (65%, p less than .01). In 3 patients, ischemia was identified by metabolic imaging alone. In 16 patients with previous myocardial infarction, perfusion defects were present at rest in 89 regions, 30 of which (34%) demonstrated increased FDG uptake, consistent with the presence of hibernation. Increased post-exercise FDG uptake appears to be a sensitive indicator of ischemia and myocardial hibernation. This test may be useful in selecting post-infarction patients for revascularization.