Coronary angioscopy provides images of intravascular detail with greater than 0.2 mm spatial resolution and excellent contrast resolution. Using endoscopes of 1.25 to 1.8 mm outer diameter, we performed intraoperative angioscopy of the coronary arteries or saphenous vein grafts, or both, in 58 patients. Eighty-one native coronary arteries and 43 vein grafts were examined. A clear viewing field was created by infusion of crystalloid cardioplegic solution through the aortic root during cardiopulmonary bypass. Technical details crucial for obtaining high-quality images were as follows: sufficient coronary perfusion by cardioplegic solution to displace all blood; adequate intraluminal illumination; and high-quality fiberoptic and lens systems. Incomplete studies in approximately 14% of patients were related to failure to achieve these technical details and lack of scope steerability. In 30% of patients, previously unrecognized anatomic details were revealed by angioscopy. These included intimal flaps at the site of vein-to-artery anastomoses, atheromatous plaques with adherent thrombi, and hemorrhagic ulcerated plaques, not recognized on angiography. Although a coronary intimal flap developed proximal to the anastomosis during retrograde examination in two patients, no serious complications occurred as a result of the procedure. We conclude that intraoperative angioscopy is safe, provides novel information that may be clinically relevant, and has future potential for development of the techniques for coronary endarterectomy and intraoperative balloon and laser angioplasty.