To assess the contribution of coronary vasospasm to chest pain in patients with nontransmural myocardial infarction, we performed a controlled trial of prophylactic antivasospastic therapy. Fifty patients with nontransmural infarction received either nifedipine or placebo in a double-blind randomized trial. Chest pain occurred in 52% of treated patients (38 episodes on 35 days) compared to 48% of control patients (42 episodes on 33 days). Concurrent therapy was comparable in the two groups. Recurrent infarction occurred in 12% and was comparable between groups. Ejection fraction was similar and was unchanged throughout the study in both groups. Logistic regression failed to identify predictors for recurrent chest discomfort. These data indicate that potent antivasospastic therapy does not reduce the incidence of recurrent chest pain or infarction. Thus, remediable coronary vasospasm is not likely to be a major cause of post infarction ischemia in patients with nontransmural infarction.