The influence of excessive body mass on the development of cardiorespiratory deficiency was studied in patients with coronary heart disease (CHD). Basic parameters of hemodynamics and gas exchange were measured during a graded exercise test. In the CHD patients with excessive body mass, mean blood pressure, cardiac output, left ventricular power output, and left ventricular posterior wall thickness were significantly increased even at rest. During exercise, these patients displayed an increase in myocardial energy consumption and peripheral vascular resistance. It was concluded that an excess in body mass is critical when the increase in the body mass index (Quetelet's index) exceeds the norm by 20%.