The purpose of this study was to evaluate the electrical pain threshold (EPT) in patients with symptomatic and asymptomatic ischemic heart disease and to compare them with healthy subjects. EPT was investigated in 20 symptomatic (mean age 51.3 +/- 8.5 years), 16 asymptomatic patients (mean age 54.9 +/- 7.3 years) and 20 healthy subjects (mean age 54.2 +/- 7.3 years). EPT was tested on the distal volar surface of the third and fourth fingers and over the volar distal area of radius in both hands by faradic current. No difference between right and left side thresholds was observed in asymptomatic patients and control subjects. EPT was instead significantly lower in the left than in right side in symptomatic patients.