We have studied the hemodynamic effects of an intravenous single dose of nitroglycerin in 13 patients with secondary pulmonary hypertension and Cor Pulmonale, during the acute course of respiratory failure and under assisted ventilation. We observed a significant decrease in systolic, diastolic and mean pulmonary arterial pressures, and in pulmonary resistance and systolic right ventricular work index, without any change in right or left pre-loads. The systolic arterial pressure decreased slightly, without any change in cardiac index or diastolic pressure. The arterial and mixed venous oxygen contents, and the pulmonary shunting (Qs/Qt) were unchanged. These results suggest that nitroglycerin may be a useful therapy in patients in the acute stages of pulmonary hypertension resulting from chronic lung disease and under assisted ventilation. In addition, the lack of change in cardiac index, intrapulmonary shunting and oxygen content suggests that this decrease in pulmonary resistance is not linked with any deleterious effect in oxygen transfer.