BACKGROUND: Several Studies from western institutes were done on the clinical characteristics and long-term prognosis of patients with variant angina. In these reports, 61-92% of patients had significant coronary artery disease, and survival without myocardial infarction at 1 year was approximately 70-83%. These results differ from our clinical experiences with Korean patients with variant angina;however, no detailed study has been reported in Korea. The purpose of this study was to describe the clinical characteristics and long-term follow-up data of our Korean patients with variant angina. METHODS: Two hundred four consecutive patients with variant angina(M/F;166/38, mean age 53+/-10 year) were included. The diagnosis of variant angina was made by spontaneous spasm in 53, positive intravenous ergonovine(iv Erg) provocation in 52, intracoronary acetylcholine(ic Ach) provocation in 55, simultaneous iv Erg and ic Ach provocation in 48 and bedside intravenous ergonovine with 2-dimensional echocardiography in 33. The clinical and angiographic characteristics were examined in 204 patients and mean 1.5 year(6 month to 3.5 year) follow-up could be done in 165 for the evaluation of long-trem prognosis. RESULTS: The Korean patients with variant angina were characterized by relatively low prevalences of significant coronary stenosis(25%), myocardial infarction and rate of cardiac death. Futhermore, survival and survival without myocardial infarction for the entire group were significantly better in our observation(1 year survival without myocardial infarction, 98%) than in other studies. During the follow-up period, 4(2%) out of 165 patients died, 1 developed myocarddial infarction and ventricular fibrillation occurred in 2. Three of 4 death caused by stopping medication abruptly. Thirteen patients were angina free after discontinued medications during the follow-up. CONCLUSION: The overall prognosis of variant angina may be better in Korean patients. We believe that less severe coronary atherosclerotic disease and a high rate of treatment with calcium blockers may have contributed to the lower rate of cardiac death and myocardial infarction on our patients compared with those in previous studies.