To determine the incidence of arteriographically proven coronary artery disease in black men evaluated for chest pain, we retrospectively reviewed the charts of 208 black men, aged 20 to 60, who had coronary arteriography at the Medical Center of Central Georgia (MCCG) from 1985 through January 1990. Age, type of chest pain, and risk factors commonly accepted as associated with coronary disease (hypertension, family history, left ventricular hypertrophy, diabetes, smoking, and hypercholesterolemia) were identified for each patient. Patients were categorized by previous evidence of coronary disease: 145 were studied to evaluate suspected disease and 63 to evaluate previously proven (prior catheterization) or presumptive (prior myocardial infarction) disease. Chest pain groups (typical and atypical angina) were analyzed by Pearson chi-square goodness of fit using the Diamond and Forrester age and chest pain tables as a model. Risk factors were analyzed using a maximum likelihood chi-square test. Coronary artery disease was common in the study group (48.6% of all patients) but significantly less than predicted by the Diamond and Forrester tables. Risk factors were highly prevalent, but only age and smoking were associated with catheterization-proven coronary artery disease in this group. We conclude that coronary artery disease is common in black men evaluated for chest pain but less frequent than would be expected from comparison with findings in white men presenting similar clinical features. Risk factors other than age and smoking were not associated with increased incidence of disease. A prospective study is needed to delineate a more effective means of evaluating black male patients with chest pain.